Director: High GPAs meritable

Members of the athletic department say last semester’s high cumulative student-athlete GPA is a great achievement, but expectations will remain high.”We are very pleased with the academic performance of our student-athletes in the fall semester,” athletics director Daniel Morrison said in a press statement. “It’s a great tribute to the teamwork between our athletic academic services office and our coaching staff.”

More than 200 student-athletes, or 49 percent, finished the semester with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Although the cumulative GPA of all athletes was 2.86, it is the goal of the Athletic Academic Services Department to have the entire student-athlete body reach a combined 3.0.

“I think that having 10 out of 19 programs achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is very important to recognize,” said Chris Uchacz, director of athletic academic services.

Uchacz said because of their strict and grueling time schedule, TCU student-athletes receive departmental assistance. There is monitored study hall, tutoring, one-on-one counseling, as well as several checkups throughout each semester to maintain each player’s eligibility, according to NCAA standards. Uchacz said the staff is determined to ensure student-athletes are successful in all aspects of university life.

Uchacz said the athletic department has three main goals on behalf of the athletes: NCAA compliance and satisfactory progress, graduation and producing good citizens for the community. TCU currently has a 71 percent student-athlete graduation rate.

Jack Hesselbrock, associate athletics director, said TCU has a commitment to helping its student-athletes better themselves in multiple areas.

“TCU is an academic institution, and we have an expectation of doing as well as we can academically – as well as athletically,” Hesselbrock said. “I don’t think that any less of an expectation would be tolerated by our chancellor, provost, board or director of athletics.”

Hesselbrock said one of the reasons TCU athletes perform so well within the classroom is from both the enormous support received from the faculty and staff and the constant communication between the athletes, professors and sports directors.

“There is a real hands-on (environment) and that makes TCU a unique place where a lot of different people can succeed,” Hesselbrock said. “I think that what we’ve seen over the years is if the bar is raised, and if you expect it, then there is a drive toward it. It is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.