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Academic Honors

UL's athletes score in NCAA academic study

October 05, 2006 - Marsha Sills

At least six hours a week Ashley Ragan spends time in study hall.
While she studies more hours than that in a week, the six hours she puts in are part of her requirements of being the mid-infielder on UL's softball team. Like other athletes, Ragan manages her time around her classes and her sport. In the offseason, she said she's in practice about two and a half hours a day.

"It's tough, but if you put your mind to it, you can do it," Ragan said. "I love it. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have sports."

Mandatory study hall and other academic requirements for UL's athletes are put in place not only to keep them eligible to play, but eligible for their degree, said Danny Cottonham, director of UL's student athlete academic center.
Last week, the NCAA released its most recent team-by-team graduation success rates for student-athletes who began classes between 1996 and 1999.

According to the data, UL's men's golf team and women's tennis team had the highest graduation success rates of other teams on campus. The golf team's graduation rate was 89 percent, while the rate for the women's tennis team was 78 percent.

The data reflects a four-class aggregate of student-athletes who began classes at UL from 1996 through 1999. The NCAA uses the method to better reflect a team's academic performance. Each UL team's graduation rate from 1996 to 1999 was higher than the school's overall rate for its 1997 cohort or 2003 graduates - was 29 percent.

Just as the university has seen an upward trend in its graduation rates with selective admissions, which began in 1999, the athletic department is expecting its athletes' graduation rates to improve, particularly because the NCAA also increased its eligibility standards, Cottonham said.

The university's all-student graduation rate for the fall 1999 freshmen cohort or 2005 graduates was 38.2 percent, while overall, UL's athletes' graduation rates during that same time period was 66 percent, according to NCAA data. Updated information on overall rates for Division I schools should be released later this month, according to the NCAA.

In 1999, UL began moving toward more selective admissions with full implementation this past fall. In 2003, the NCAA updated its academic eligibility requirements, including requiring athletes to have larger percentages of their course work finished throughout their eligibility.

"Before, the percentages were 25, 50 and 75, but in 2003 it was changed to 40, 60 and 80 percent," Cottonham said. "That means that before a student who had completed their first four semesters had to complete 25 percent of their course work, but now, it's 40 percent."

Changes that year also included grade-point average requirements.

"It's a formula with different stages depending upon where you are in your degree," said Kristi Stake, UL's assistant athletic director for compliance. "It depends on your major and how many years you've been in school."

Before their second year of eligibility, athletes are required to have a GPA that reflects 90 percent of the GPA they must attain to graduate in their discipline. In the third year, the requirement is 95 percent of the GPA needed to graduate and by their fourth year, the GPA must be 100 percent.

The changes help focus student-athletes on their degree, Cottonham said.

Former Cajuns' wide receiver B.J. Crist set his goal to graduate, and did so last year. While at UL, Crist was honored as a Sun Belt honor roll athlete for maintaining at least a 3.0 or better.

"I wanted to make sure I was finished by the time I finished football," Crist said.

Crist, who graduated in 2005, said playing team sports through college only made him more disciplined in the classroom and now at his job. He's now a sales representative for a global reconstructive orthopedics manufacturer.

Athletes are required to spend time in study hall with their GPA determining the amount of time they're required to spend in study hall hours after freshmen courses. Coaches also may require their players to spend a certain amount of time in study hall per week.

Chris Johnson, a freshman on the football team, said the academic requirements give him the direction he needs.

"To me, it's helpful because I'm the type of person who likes to procrastinate," he said with a laugh before he returned to his geology notes.

As far as the other academic requirements that will follow him each semester he plays, Johnson said he's not stressed.

"I think I'll be able to manage everything," he said.

Academic counselors within the student athlete academic center help students manage their academic schedules and help with advising. The counselors also do random classroom checks throughout the semester to make sure athletes are in class. They also do random grade checks.

The structure is imperative to help the athletes succeed off the playing field, Cottonham said.

"It's important because we do place different demands on them," he said. "I don't think there's another group of students that we require that they have 40 percent of their degree requirements completed after four semesters. Because of that we need to do what we're doing."

The payoff of athletes' time at UL hangs on Cottonham's office wall. It's a graduation gown and tasseled mortar board. A plaque hangs above it that reads, "The Uniform of Choice."

"We give all of our kids a uniform," Cottonham said. "I tell them you have to choose that one. You have to work for it."

UL's ranking

1996-1999 Cohorts: University of Louisiana

UL teams, their NCAA Graduation Success Rate

Men's sports

Baseball - 36

Basketball - 40

CC/Track - 65

Football - 61

Golf - 89

Tennis - 71

Women's sports

Basketball - 69

CC/Track - 59

Softball - 73

Tennis - 78


Source: NCAA Graduation Success Rate Reports

How other public Division 1 universities in Louisiana rated:

(Teams and their NCAA Graduation Success Rate)

UL Monroe

Men's sports

Baseball - 53

Basketball - 44

CC/Track - 65

Football - 66

Golf -64

Swimming - 83

Tennis - 86

Women's sports

Basketball - 73

CC/Track - 73

Softball - 82

Swimming - 78

Tennis - 80

Volleyball - 71


Men's sports

Baseball - 42

Basketball - 40

CC/Track - 77

Football - 49

Golf - 80

Swimming - 72

Tennis - 100

Women's sports

Basketball - 62

CC/Track - 68

Golf - 57

Gymnastics - 100

Soccer - 88

Softball - 95

Swimming - 91

Tennis - 75

Volleyball - 100

Louisiana Tech University

Men's sports

Baseball - 55

Basketball - 44

CC/Track - 65

Football - 61

Golf - 83

Women's sports

Basketball - 69

CC/Track - 81

Softball - 83

Tennis - 100

Volleyball - 100

Originally published October 5, 2006

Sun Belt Conference Honors Academic Standouts for 2004-2005

120 UL student athletes honored.

NEW ORLEANS -- Nearly 1,250 student-athletes are being honored by the Sun
Belt Conference for achieving a grade point average of 3.0 or better, the
league announced on Thursday.

Sun Belt schools combined to have more than 500 student-athletes land on the
Commissioner's List, which honors all student-athletes recording a 3.5 GPA
or better during the 2004-05 academic year. The league also had numerous
standouts named to the Academic Honor Roll, which is awarded to those
maintaining a 3.0-3.49 GPA.

A complete list is included below.

Sun Belt Conference

2004-2005 Academic Honor Roll

3.0-3.49 GPA

Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns: 75

Baseball (14)

Devon Bourque, Jeff Cook, John Glass, Phillip Hawke, Blaine Lafleur, Justin Merendino, Jeff Mizzi, Hunter Moody, Jameson Parker, Ian Pecoraro, Brandt Sanders, Jonathan Smith, Jeffries Tatford, Josh Williams.

Men's Basketball (2)

Adam James, Tiras Wade.

Women's Basketball (1)

Anna Petrakova.

Football (13)

Anthony Cash, Sean Comiskey, Robert Edmiston, Justin Ernest, Timothy Falter, Erik Jones, Justin Lee, Bryan Lloyd, Lamar Morgan, Butch Roussel, Caleb Rubin, Gary Rudick, Justin Venable.

Men's Golf (3)

Stephen Girouard, James Richard, Otto Sigurdsson.

Women's Soccer (8)

Kathryn Bergeron, Meghan Crawford, Colleen Henry, Stephanie Lynch, Kristen Malen, Kala Polman-Tuin, Meredith Smith, Lindsay Webb.

Softball (7)

Michelle Bergeaux, Ashley Evans, Karli Hubbard, Jessica Lemoine, Leslie Pierce, Heather Warren, Joy Webre.

Men's Tennis (2)

Ryan Hess, Robin Ley.

Women's Tennis (4)

Fernanada Kompatsher, Aidee Lasso, Kimberly Lyles, Cecilia Varela.

Men's Track & Field/Cross Country (6)

Chad Campbell, Jeremy Hebert, Lawrence Leben, Scott Lowry, Shannon Sam, Jacob Simmons.

Women's Track & Field/Cross Country (12)

Jamie Blue, Ashley Brandon, Casey Brown, Valaniecia Brown, Carmen Charles, Laura Credeur, Amy Doucet, Kimberly Dussette, Jennifer Gautreaux, Kim Glover, Andrea Harper, Laura Zaunbrecher.

Volleyball (3)

Tami Harry, Stacey Liverett, Jessica Pattison.


2004-2005 Commissioner's List

3.50 and Above GPA

Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns: 45

Baseball (5)

Matthew Bounds, Austin Faught, Jeff Martinez, Justin Morgan, Alex Preciado.

Football (5)

Brenton Burkhalter, Chris Klock, Eugene Kwarteng, Robert Terrel, Sam Wofford.

Men's Golf (4)

Daniel Landry, Steven Pena, Michael Smith, Bernard Thibeaux.

Women's Soccer (8)

Bridgette Adorno, Ainsley Breaux, Kelly Good, Amy Hamilton, Sheryl Owens, Lotte Rasmussen, Lindsay Schwind, Lindsey Winters.

Softball (4)

Kelsey Cammarata, Tiffany Hebert, Brooke Mitchell, Jill Robertson.

Men's Tennis (1)

Amajot Singh.

Women's Tennis (4)

Thais Bortolette, Tammy Day, Susan Linden, Chanell Meijer.

Men's Track & Field/Cross Country (6)

Brennan Bernard, Ryan Dupree, Nick Meaux, Denis Schexnayder, Walter Whitfield, Matt Zaunbrecher.

Women's Track & Field/Cross Country (4)

Leah Legere, Dusty Martin, Kimberly Octave, Mary Zaunbrecher.

Volleyball (4)

Holly Girouard, Kim Rodgers, Anahi Torrico, Hope Webre.

Originally published August 28, 2005


Total ranked fourth out of 11 Sun Belt Universities, the most for the
program since joining the conference in 1991-92

LAFAYETTE - For the second straight year the University of Louisiana at
Lafayette's athletics department established a new bar of academic
excellence, showing that athletics and academics go hand-in-hand.

The Sun Belt Conference recently released its list of the 2003-04
academic all-conference honorees and 105 Ragin' Cajun athletes were
honored for their work in the classroom during the academic year.

The total number of honorees ranked the Ragin' Cajuns athletics
department fourth out of the 11 Sun Belt schools on the academic award

The total is also the most since UL Lafayette joined the Sun Belt
Conference in 1991-92 and bested the previous high of 100 set just last
year (2002-03).

The Ragin' Cajuns had 43 Commissioner's List honorees and 62 Honor Roll

The Commissioner's List is a made up of athletes who have maintained at
least a 3.5 grade point average for the previous two semesters. The
Honor Roll is a collection of all student-athletes with a grade point
average between 3.0 - 3.49.

Louisiana-Lafayette's Commissioner's List total tied the highest for the
program since the SBC spilt its academic awards into the two lists
during the 1997-98 calendar year. The Cajuns best for the Commissioner's
List honorees was 43 set just last season.

UL Lafayette's 43 Commissioner's List selections ranked as the
sixth-most league-wide, while the 62 Honor Roll members gave UL
Lafayette the second-highest total on that list.

Louisiana-Lafayette was one of four schools in the SBC to garner
100-plus academic awards.

The women's soccer and baseball programs each had had a department-high
15 honorees to lead all Cajun sports for 2003-04.

The soccer team's nine Commissioner's List selections were the most
department-wide on that particular list.

The men's golf team led all Sun Belt schools with three listed on the
Commissioner's List. Tony Robichaux's baseball squad had 11 members on
the Honor Roll to lead the way amongst the fellow Sun Belt baseball
programs and Lance Veazey's men's track and field/cross country program
led the Sun Belt with 11 Honor Roll members.

Becky Madden's volleyball team made the biggest strides in improving its
academic standing. After having just three total honorees during the
2002-03 academic year, the squad placed eight of its 11 members on the
academic listings - representing 73 percent of its roster.

League-wide, more than 1,000 student-athletes representing 18
championship sports and 13 member schools within the Sun Belt Conference
maintained a 3.0 or better grade point average over the past academic

(student-athletes with 3.5-4.0 GPA)

Devon Bourque, Fr., Electrical Engineering
Brandon Montemayor, Jr., General Studies
Justin Morgan, Jr., Kinesiology
Jeffries Tatford, Fr., Civil Engineering

Sean Comiskey, Jr., Kinesiology
Butch Roussel, So., Biology
Chris Klock, Sr., Education
Jamal Smith, Sr., Business Administration

Tobias Winberg, Sr., Management
Steven Pena, Jr., Finance
James Richard, Fr., Marketing

Ainsley Breaux, So., Kinesiology
Ashley Delahoussaye, Sr., Kinesiology
Kelli Good, So., Biology
Sherryl Owens, Sr., Renewable Resources
Lotte Rasmussen, Fr., Kinesiology
Lindsay Schwind, Fr., Marketing
Jenny Brown, Jr., Anthropology
Kristi Burkett, So., Mass Communication
Marielle Phillips, So., Psychology

Christine Collins, Fr., Education
Tiffany Hebert, Jr., Kinesiology
Jill Robertson, Sr., Mechanical Engineering

Amanjot Singh, So., Accounting
Michael Tarkowski, Sr., General Studies

Thais Bortoletto, So., Marketing
Sophie Cerbon, Fr., Undeclared Liberal Arts
Fernanda Kompatsher, Jr., Marketing
Susan Linden, Jr., Kinesiology
Celine Vanweydeveld, Fr., Modern Languages

Brennan Bernard, Fr., Kinesiology
Lawrence Leben, Sr., Management

Jennifer Block, Sr., Biology
Ashley Brandon, So., Health Information Management
Jenna Clement, Fr., Nursing
Leah Legere, So., Communicative Disorders
Analise Zaunbrecher, Jr., Physics
Laura Zaunbrecher, Jr., Biology

Lindsey Bermes, Sr., Management
Jessica Pattison, Fr., Apparel Design/Merchandising
Kim Rodgers, Fr., Apparel Design/Merchandising
Anahi Torrico Aliaga, Fr., Biology
Hope Webre, Fr., Political Science

(student-athletes with 3.0-3.49 GPA)

Kevin Ardoin, Jr., Computer Engineering
Micah Cockrell, Jr., Management
Ryan Core, Sr., General Studies
Phillip Hawke, Jr., Finance
Josh Kohrs, Jr., General Studies
Thad Montgomery, Jr., Finance
Dallas Morris, Jr., Management
Jameson Parker, Jr., Finance
Ian Pecoraro, Jr., General Studies
Brandt Sanders, So., Nursing
Sport Voohires, Sr., General Studies

Adam James, Fr., Insurance & Risk Management
Ross Mouton, Fr., Management

Ashley Blanche, So., Kinesiology
Kayla Edwards, Jr., General Studies
Sharee Glenn, Sr., General Studies
Trina Johnson, Jr., Sociology
Anna Petrakova, Kr., Business Administration (BSAT)
Dominique Williams, Fr., Kinesiology

B.J. Crist, Sr., Kinesiology
John Grotefend, So., Nursing
Josh Harrison, So., Kinesiology
Eugene Kwarteng, Jr., Visual Arts
Lamar Morgan, So., Management
Wes Simon, So., Accounting
David Kirkley, Sr., Business Administration
Daniel Taylor, Sr., Industrial Technology

Matt Smith, Sr., General Studies
Brandon Wilson, Fr., Management
Spence Girouard, So., General Studies
Stephen Lim, Fr., Undeclared Liberal Arts

Meghan Crawford, So., Education
Tiffany Garber, So., Nursing
Natalie Hanks, Sr., Biology
Rachel Rozelle, Jr., Biology
Lauren Schwindt, Fr., Kinesiology
Lindsay Webb, So., Education

Michelle Bergeaux, So., Education
Desi Chatman, Fr., Kinesiology
Brooke Mitchell, Jr., Finance
Afton Thoms, Management

Kimberly Lyles, Fr., Kinesiology

Kenneth Charles, Sr., Mass Communication
Ryan Dupree, Jr., Geology
Fred Flugence, Jr., Finance
Herman Green, Jr., Kinesiology
Greg Hensgens, Sr., General Studies
Ezra Istre, So., English
Nick Judice, Sr., Management
Walter Whitfield, Sr., Kinesiology
William Perkins, Fr., Political Science
Denis Schexnayder, Fr., Mass Communication

Desi Chatman, Fr., Kinesiology
Laura Credeur, So., Nursing
Natalie Gillis, Jr., Visual Arts
Dusty Martin, So., Education
Stacey Young, Fr., Chemistry

Hollie Girouard, Jr., Visual Arts
Tami Harvey, Jr., Kinesiology
Stacy Liverett, Jr., Child and Family Studies