"When I started in higher education, athletics and scholarship were often viewed as the oil and vinegar. They simply didn't mix; there was no intersection. There were very few conversations. And no scholar athlete recognition event. Many faculty viewed athletes in a less than positive light; and a significant number of coaches viewed academic s as a distraction to their top talent. Thankfully, for the most part, the world has changed and continues to change.
Thanks to the efforts of the NCAA, thanks to a more student centered philosophy of education, thanks to a new breed of coaches, thanks to a world where stereotyping is less the norm, we now find much greater collaboration and cooperation between academics and athletics. And nothing could be better for the students involved. Being on a team is a great experience but at the end of the day, very few college athletes enter the pros. It is therefore especially important that they succeed as students so that they graduate and have more options available to them. As faculty, administrators, and staff, we get great pleasure from our athletes and as faculty, administrators, and staff we have an obligation to our athletes and all our students, to see that they succeed and graduate."
In a year full of "firsts" in competition for various Gamecock teams and student-athletes, we've also been breaking new ground in the classroom. South Carolina student-athletes completed the fall semester by not only achieving their eighth consecutive semester of a departmental grade point average above 3.0, but also recording the highest departmental GPA on record at 3.146. Thirteen out of 17 teams achieved a 3.0 or better for the semester, with eight teams earning above a 3.3 GPA. The football team set its highest GPA on record for the third consecutive year with a 2.779. In addition to winning the National Championship on the field, the Baseball team also had the highest average GPA of the eight teams who made it to the College World Series last summer.
"An extremely important component of what we do is the education of our young people," says Athletics Director Eric Hyman. "Our jobs are not complete unless we put our student athletes in a position to graduate when their eligibility has been exhausted."
South Carolina led the SEC for the fifth consecutive fall semester atop the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll with 79 student-athletes making the list. The Gamecock also led the conference with the highest number of football players making the list at 31.
"There is no secret why our teams are experiencing high levels of success on the field of play," says Raymond Harrison, Associate AD for Academics and Student Support Services. "The commitment level and work ethic of the student-athletes are transferring into all areas- athletics, academics and community outreach."
Congratulations to all our student-athletes on their accomplishments and here's to many more, both in athletics and in academics, as we continue to strive toward helping our student-athletes be successful in all areas.