Baylor Athletics Continues Classroom Success

Nov. 18, 2009

After leading the Big 12 Conference in Graduation Success Rate (GSR) scores each of the past three years, Baylor and Kansas State shared the league's second-best mark according to figures released Wednesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Iowa State produced a league-leading GSR score of 78, while Baylor and Kansas State tied for second with scores of 77.

"Baylor student-athletes continue to thrive in the classroom while earning a world class education," said Baylor Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. "I am grateful to our student-athletes, coaches, academic staff and the Baylor faculty for their commitment to academic excellence."

Following Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas State in the Big 12 were Colorado (76), Oklahoma State (76), Missouri (75), Nebraska (75), Kansas (74), Texas A&M (71), Oklahoma (70), Texas (70) and Texas Tech (67). Baylor produced Big 12-leading GSR scores in 2008 (84), 2007 (87) and 2006 (88).

In addition, Baylor ranked tied for third among Big 12 institutions in male student-athlete GSR score with a 68, while its female student-athlete GSR score of 90 was the league's third-best score.

Eight Baylor teams met or exceeded the national GSR threshold in their particular sport for all Division I institutions, and two--baseball and softball, led the Big 12 Conference with scores of 73 and 100, respectively. It marked the second consecutive year Baylor baseball led the Big 12 in GSR score.

Other Baylor programs which met or exceeded the national GSR score in their particular sport were football (70, No. 2 in Big 12 behind Nebraska), men's golf (83), women's basketball (83), women's cross country/track & field (90), women's soccer (91) and women's volleyball (90). BU's women's golf team (80) was the only other sport at Baylor to register a GSR above 80.

The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) was developed in response to college and university presidents who wanted graduation data that more accurately reflect the mobility among college students today. Both rates improve on the federally mandated graduation rate by including students who were omitted from the federal calculation.

The GSR measures graduation rates at Division I institutions and includes students transferring into the institutions. The GSR also allows institutions to subtract student-athletes who leave their institutions prior to graduation as long as they would have been academically eligible to compete had they remained.

The most recent Graduation Success Rates are based on the four entering freshmen classes in Division I from 1999-2000 through 2002-03. This year's report marks the seventh year that GSR data has been collected by the NCAA.

The NCAA also released its 2009 federal graduation data on Wednesday. Baylor, which has led the Big 12 Conference in overall student-athlete graduation rates five times and finished second on three occasions, tied for seventh in the most-recent report with its 55 percent rate. Baylor's 4-year average graduation rate of 56 percent was eighth in the Big 12. Baylor has graduated at least 60 percent of its student-athletes in 11 of the Big 12's 14 years.

Baylor's exhausted eligibility graduation rate of 92 percent tied for third with Iowa State in the Big 12 behind Nebraska (94 percent) and Texas Tech (93).

Long-recognized as a national leader in student-athlete academic success, Baylor student-athletes achieved the following in the classroom during the 2008-09 academic year:

Baylor's men's basketball and women's golf programs received public recognition awards from the NCAA Division I Academic Performance Program for having Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores which rank among the top 10 percent within their respective sport. It marks the first APR award for either program and just the third time in school history a Baylor team has been honored, following the recognition coach Steve Smith's baseball team received in 2007.

The Baylor men's basketball program registered an APR of 989, and was one of three Big 12 institutions, joining Kansas and Texas, among the 36 recognized nationally by the NCAA. The Baylor women's golf team, meanwhile, had a perfect APR score of 1000 and was one of 47 programs honored nationally, three of which are from the Big 12 Conference (Baylor, Missouri and Nebraska).

All-told, six Big 12 schools earned at least two public APR awards--Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas, with Kansas and Nebraska each receiving three awards. The public recognition awards are part of the broad NCAA Division I academic reform effort.

All of Baylor's intercollegiate athletics programs scored at or above the national threshold of 925 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's 2009 Academic Progress Rate (APR) and none of its teams are subject to the organization's Contemporaneous Penalties. Three of Baylor's programs, baseball, women's golf and women's soccer, led the Big 12 Conference in APR scores within their respective sports, while two more, men's basketball and women's tennis, finished second in their ranking.

Ten of Baylor's athletic programs scored above the national Division I APR average for their respective sport (baseball, men's basketball, men's cross country, men's golf, women's cross country, women's golf, women's soccer, softball, women's tennis and women's volleyball).

Baylor student-athletes continued their winning ways in the classroom, as a school-record 113 individuals were selected to 2008-09 Academic All-Big 12 teams, including a school-record 89 first-team honorees. It marked the third consecutive year Baylor established school records for both total number of Academic All-Big 12 selections and first-team picks.

Sixteen of Baylor's 17 programs which compete in the Big 12 Conference produced at least two Academic All-Big 12 performers and 15 had multiple first-team honorees, led by women's cross country, which placed 13 of its student-athletes on the first-team. All-told, six programs--football (16), women's cross country (13), women's soccer (12), women's track & field (12), baseball (11) and softball (10), had at least 10 Academic All-Big 12 selections in 2008-09.

A school-record 462 Baylor student-athletes were named to the 2008 fall (239) and 2009 spring (223) Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Rolls, including 63 with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages. Student-athletes must achieve a minimum 3.0 semester grade-point average to earn Commissioner's Honor Roll status.

Baylor established school records for fall, spring and total Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll selections during the 2008-09 academic year; the fourth consecutive year it has established both overall total, fall and spring semester records.

Nearly 60.0 percent (58.2) of Baylor's student-athletes had at least a 3.0 fall 2008 grade-point average, while 56.4 recorded that mark for the spring 2009 semester.

Thirty-two (32) Baylor student-athletes achieved perfect 4.0 grade-point averages during the fall 2008 term, while 31 registered 4.0 marks for the 2009 spring semester.

Some 90 Baylor student-athletes, including 11 who earned master's degrees, graduated during fall 2009 and spring 2009 commencement exercises.

Baylor had 11 teams post a cumulative grade-point average above a 3.0 in 2008-09. The cumulative grade-point average for all 16 Baylor teams for 2008-09 was a school-record 3.01.

A school-record 146 Baylor student-athletes earned 2008-09 Dean's List recognition.

Four Baylor student-athletes earned CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors--softball's Alex Colyer (first-team), football's Joe Pawelek (second-team), baseball's Aaron Miller (second-team) and softball's Tiffany Wesley (second-team). All-told, 13 Baylor student-athletes received CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District recognition, including eight first-teamers.

Four seniors on Baylor's 2008 football team--Ty Findley, Ben Hixson, Ryan Roberts and John David Weed, were named to the third annual Hampshire Honor Society, which is selected by the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame and recognizes college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a 3.2 GPA or better.

Baylor women's golfer Morgan Chambers was named to the 2009 National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team. A junior health science studies major from Purcell, Okla., Chambers earned NGCA all-scholar honors for the second time in her career. The criteria for selection to the All-American Scholar Team are some of the most stringent in all of college athletics, with a minimum GPA requirement of 3.50 and 50% participation in the team's scheduled competitive rounds during the year.

Seven Baylor women's track and field team members were named to the USTFCCCA 2009 Division I All-Academic team. Baylor student-athletes named to the team were Erin Bedell, Danielle Bradley, Brittany Bruce, Jodi Hulett, Samantha Patty, Diamond Richardson and Jessica Ubanyionwu.

The Baylor women's track and field team was named a 2009 USTFCCCA Division I Women's All-Academic Track and Field team. The Lady Bears compiled a team GPA of 3.220 for the 2008-09 academic year.

Baylor's women's cross country team, which qualified for the NCAA Championships for the sixth consecutive season, compiled a team GPA of 3.510 and earned a 2008 NCAA Division I USTFCCCA Women's All-Academic Team award. The Lady Bears registered the fourth-highest team GPA of any team competing at the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Baylor's men's tennis team was named an All-Academic Team by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). The Bears were one of just 47 squads honored nationally and the lone Big 12 men's team recognized by the organization. To be eligible for the ITA All-Academic Team award a squad must have a team grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale). The Bears posted a 3.46 GPA for the spring semester, an all-time record for the program.

In addition, five men's tennis players received ITA Scholar-Athlete honors--John Arvesen, David Galic, Chase McVicker, Dominik Mueller and Jordan Rux. To be eligible a student-athlete must have a grade-point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale).

Not to be out done by its male counterparts, the Baylor women's tennis team also earned 2008-09 All-Academic Team honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). The Lady Bears were one of three Big 12 teams on the list after registering a 3.40 grade-point average for the spring semester, an all-time program best. Taylor Ormond also earned women's ITA Scholar-Athlete honors. Ormond was the lone Bear to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status.

Baylor's Jason Smith (football) and Brette Reagan (softball) were received 2008-09 Big 12 Senior Awards and were the school's Big 12 Male and Female Athlete of the Year nominees.

Three Baylor student-athletes were named to the third-annual Big 12 Good Works teams, which recognize community service activities three times annually. Cross Country's Erin Bedell (fall), softball's Nicole Wesley (winter) and equestrian's Nicole Brown (spring) were honored from Baylor. In addition, two Baylor student-athletes, track and field's Lyndsy Bedell and baseball's Zach Dillon, earned $7,500 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarships from the Big 12.

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