Bucking the Trend
An Associated Press story today in The New York Times noted a national trend that student-athletes at NCAA Division III institutions, where scholarships based on athletic ability are prohibited, are underperforming in the classroom.
“The notion of student-athletes as students first is integral to Division III, the NCAA's largest classification. But a growing body of research shows a considerable gap in classroom performance between Division III athletes and their counterparts in the overall student body,” the story read.
The story does note, however, that schools in the University Athletic Association, of which Carnegie Mellon is a member, are bucking the national trend.
In a study of student-athlete grade-point averages conducted by the University Athletic Association, Carnegie Mellon student-athletes significantly outpaced the general student body in terms of classroom achievement. Male student-athletes had a cumulative GPA of 3.27 during the 2008-09 academic year, while female student-athletes registered a 3.29. In general, male students averaged a 3.16 at Carnegie Mellon last year and female students had a 3.18 GPA.
The Tartans, who compete in 17 intercollegiate sports, didn’t do too bad athletically either. In fact, the 2008-09 academic year was the best in school history for Carnegie Mellon Athletics, as the Tartans turned in record-breaking performances across the intercollegiate program. This past fall, the men’s soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division III Championships for the first time in school history.
“Our men and women have displayed the ability to compete at the highest level of Division III athletics while excelling in their academic pursuits. They are the epitome of student-athletes,” said Carnegie Mellon Director of Athletics Susan Bassett.
Sixteen of Carnegie Mellon’s 17 intercollegiate programs had GPAs above 3.0. The women’s cross-country team had the highest cumulative GPA with a 3.53 among its 19 student-athletes. The 99 student-athletes on the football team combined for a 3.23 GPA while the men’s soccer team boasted a 3.35.
“Carnegie Mellon is a world-renowned institution and our student-athletes are doing everything they can to maximize their collegiate experience,” Bassett said. “Their performance has been and continues to be outstanding.”