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Athletics: UL athletic teams enjoy another record academic semester

The Advertiser, July 31, 2014

The field of play was not the only place the UL Ragin’ Cajuns were successful during the 2013-14 year. After helping their teams produce high marks on the field that culminated in five conference championships, Ragin’ Cajuns student-athletes turned in a stellar performance in the classroom.

After a record-breaking year in the classroom in 2012-13, Ragin’ Cajuns student-athletes set a new benchmark during the 2013-14 academic year with the two highest semester grade point averages recorded since grades were tracked dating back to 1982. After posting a cumulative record 2.970 GPA in the fall, Ragin’ Cajuns student-athletes came back and posted a 2.993 GPA in the spring, marking eight straight semesters of earning a 2.8 GPA or higher.

"We had another record-breaking semester," Christy Alford, Assistant Director of the Student Athlete Academic Center said. "With nearly 60 percent of our student-athletes achieving a 3.0 or better, they are continuing to compete at the highest level academically. It is a testament to their ability to balance the rigors of the classroom and their athletic commitments."

Eleven of the Ragin’ Cajuns 16 athletic programs posted a team GPA of 3.0 or above during the spring 2013 semester. The Ragin’ Cajuns women’s tennis team posted a team GPA of 3.491 in the spring semester – the highest mark of all varsity sports. Three teams – women’s cross country (3.383), baseball (3.331) and football (2.849) – earned their highest recorded GPA in school history during the spring semester.

"When you take into consideration the time and effort that our student-athletes put in on a daily basis to compete at the highest level athletically, their performance in the classroom is a testament to their work ethic and character," Director of Athletics Scott Farmer said. "Their performance in the classroom shows their commitment to receiving a quality education while they are equally committed to helping their teams perform at the highest level.

"I am very proud of the performance of our student-athletes for their continued hard work and bringing to life the academic mission of this University. It is through their hard work, along with the support and encouragement that they receive from the staff of the Student Athlete Academic Center, our coaches, athletic staff and members of the University community, that they are able to accomplish great things academically."

Women’s soccer had 76 percent of its student-athletes earn a 3.0 GPA during the spring semester, the highest average among Ragin’ Cajuns programs. Volleyball (75%), baseball (71.8%), women’s tennis (71.4%) and softball (65.3%) were among nine sports where 60 percent of its student-athletes earned a 3.0 GPA or above.

A total of 187 student-athletes (58.9%) earned a 3.0 GPA in the spring with football (35), women’s track (24), baseball (23), soccer (19), softball (17), men’s track (16) and volleyball (12) leading the way. A total of 20 student-athletes earned a 4.0 GPA during the spring semester.

"The entire athletic community – from the coaches to the administrators to the tutors – are dedicated to ensuring our student-athletes are successful as students first," Alford said. "I am proud to work with these amazing young men and women and thankful for the staff in the Student Athlete Academic Center who work tirelessly to provide resources for our student-athletes."

Ragin’ Cajuns student-athletes are currently graduating at a rate of 75 percent according to the most recent Federal Graduation Rates Report – the highest graduation rate among student-athletes in both the Sun Belt Conference and the state of Louisiana.

And with solid numbers in the classroom, all 16 varsity sports competing exceeded the required cutoff point of 930 as the annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) was released in May by the NCAA.

Ten sports scored above a 960 on the four-year average, highlighted by women’s tennis, which scored a four-year average of 992. Women’s cross country (991), men’s cross country (986), women’s soccer (984), softball (982), women’s indoor track (973), women’s outdoor track (973), baseball (969), men’s tennis (963) and men’s golf (960) all met or exceeded the 960 mark.