Troy athletes excel in classroom

Published 9:14 am Thursday, January 26, 2012

With many athletes focused on getting out of college and into a pro uniform as soon as possible, academics among student athletes have lost some of their importance.

But for the athletes at Troy University, academics are an important part of the process and a high GPA is becoming the norm.

During halftime at the upcoming Troy Basketball game versus FIU on Thursday, Feb. 2, 218 student-athletes will be honored as members of the “3.0 Club” for academic performance in the fall of 2011.

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“We’re really proud of them and appreciate their contributions,” Director of Student-Athlete Services Matt Mayotte said. “Academics are paramount and always are a priority, without good grades these players wouldn’t be able to compete.”

The 218 student-athletes being honored make up over half of Troy’s athletic population of 420, and include players from all Troy sports.

The achievements in the classroom don’t stop with the individuals though, as 10 of Troy’s 17 squads brought in a cumulative 3.0 GPA last semester including baseball, volleyball, golf and softball.

“Our kids are driven,” Troy volleyball head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick said. “They have study hall hours based on their GPA and we put it on them to get their work done. We’re really proud of our teams and all thy have accomplished, they always push each other for a higher GPA.”

The “3.0 Club” ceremony will begin at halftime during the FIU game and see each student-athlete brought on the court to receive a certificate of recognition from the chancellor and athletic director.

The university will also be holding a graduation ceremony at the end of the year for students who didn’t just make it to senior year but will be graduating with degree in hand, backing up Troy’s focus on graduation over eligibility.

“The players who move to the professional ranks are a very small percentage of students,” Senior Women’s Administrator for Troy Sandy Atkins said. “Athletics is a good means of getting a degree and that’s what we focus on, we want to teach them life lessons and responsibility. Seeing them respond the way they have academically is extremely rewarding and we would love for the community to come and help us honor these athletes and show their support.”

The academic success of the athletic programs at Troy seems to be improving every year, and Atkins reports that the high number of 3.0 GPA or above students this year is the best for the school in at least 10 years.

The students are not alone in their pursuit of better grades, as the university and coaches are making sure that everyone is working hard to improve the academic record at Troy.

“Our coaches have gotten engaged and we’ve got great leadership among the students,” Atkins said. “It’s going to be an impressive thing to see 200 plus students on the gym floor and we can pat ourselves on the back and show the community that these athletes are doing what’s right both on the field and in the classroom.”

Fans who wish to see the student-athletes get honored for their grades can do so at the FIU game on Feb. 2, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Trojan Arena.