Bulldog athletes see work pay off in success in the classroom
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 21:10
Mississippi State athletics garnished a great deal of success on the playing field during the 2011-2012 school year. With a conference championship in baseball, a bowl victory in football and postseason runs in several other sports, MSU has found itself in the national spotlight on several occasions in the last 12 months.
But the playing field was not the only place at MSU where student-athletes found success.
To match the spotlight that comes with playing a collegiate sport, the Bulldogs also took care of business in the classroom, placing 82 scholarship student-athletes on either the dean’s list or president’s list in the spring semester alone. The cumulative GPA for all sports last spring was the fifth highest ever at MSU.
While academic feats can be easily attributable to the individual, junior tennis player Rosie Dion was quick to give praise to the resources surrounding her on campus.
“The Templeton (Athletic Academic Center) is great. Study hall, the easy access to free tutoring and our academic adviser definitely makes it easier to get the grades we want,” Dion said. “If someone on the team is having a hard time, our academic adviser, who keeps track on us always, meets up as soon as possible and determines a plan of action to make sure our grades in that class improve.”
Along with Dion, tennis players Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran also obtained very high GPAs. As a unit, the MSU women’s tennis team led all athletic teams at State last spring.
The soccer, volleyball and softball teams were not far behind the women’s tennis team in the spring.
“We definitely take a lot of pride in having good grades, and having the highest GPA of all sports is a fantastic feeling,” Dion said. “We are student-athletes, not athlete-students, so grades always come first. We want the best chances on our sides to have a successful carrier after our four years at MSU.”
Women’s tennis coach Daryl Greenan said the job his players do in the classroom makes his job a little easier.
“We have some bright girls who take their academics very seriously. They have worked hard and achieved excellent grades,” Greenan said. “What makes it even more impressive is the fact that our team is made up of exclusively international students, and for a majority of them, English is their second language.”
In men’s athletics, the tennis team led the way with the baseball and golf teams close behind.
Along with the Templeton Athletic Academic Center, senior baseball player Sam Frost said he credited campus professors with the academic success of MSU student athletes.
“If I had to give credit to someone, it would be the professors. We’re fortunate to have teachers who care and are willing to work with us around our chaotic schedules, especially during the season,” Frost said. “I’d also have to give credit to the tutoring system we have at the Templeton Athletics Academic Center. The tutors are great at working around our schedules and are there specifically for us student athletes.”
Frost, who is a two-time SEC Honor Roll selection, also said academics are prioritized by MSU student athletes because the necessity of having a strong education as an adult is crucial in modern day society.
“All student-athletes would love to continue their career at the professional level, but we know we need to have a backup plan. Therefore, we take our academics seriously,” Frost said. “This attitude drives us to do our best on the field as well as in the classroom.”
To coaches at State, there is a direct relationship between hard work in the classroom and success on the playing field. Greenan said there are similarities between work ethic as an athlete and work ethic as a college student.
“You can definitely see a correlation between the discipline our team has in the classroom and on the court,” said Greenan. “They work hard at both for sure. It is an extremely difficult job being a Division I student-athlete competing in the best athletic conference in the country.”
The successful academic year State enjoyed last year was competitive considering the sports offered at MSU. Many colleges have a gymnastics or swimming team, which tends to boost the school’s GPA.
Athletes will look to continue this success off the field and stay consistent with high GPAs.