Student athletes set record for cumulative GPA

Student athletes earned the highest cumulative GPA ever reported for the university’s student athletes at the end of the fall semester, a university official said.

Chris Uchacz, director of Athletic Academic Services, said student athletes earned a 2.975 cumulative GPA in the fall 2009 semester. In addition, 36 TCU athletes were named to the fall 2009 Academic All-Mountain West Conference team.

The Mountain West Conference named 384 student athletes to the fall 2009 Academic All-Mountain West Conference team, according to a conference press release.

In order for athletes to be eligible for the All-Mountain West Conference team, students must have earned at least a 3.0 GPA and be a starter or major contributor to their team, said Kim Melcher, director of communications for the conference.

“They have to compete in a significant number of contests in that season,” Melcher said.

Nikki Wilbur, a junior communication studies major, was one of 13 TCU soccer players named to the academic conference team. Wilbur, who has been part of the academic conference team every season she has been at TCU, said athletics and academics are part of the day.

TCU student athletes have more than 15,000 square feet of academic space. Two facilities house Athletic Academic Services, which includes the Davis Academic Learning Center and Abe Martin Academic Enhancement Center, Uchacz said. The space, composed of study halls, about 50 computers, two computer labs and 20 tutoring rooms was designed to help student athletes pursue their academic endeavors, he said.

Wilbur said she utilizes the academic facilities all the time, even though she doesn’t necessarily have to be there.

Student athletes have a tutor pool of about 50 tutors. Tutors are available in core subjects, along with any subjects requested by athletes, Uchacz said.

Wilbur said Athletic Academic Services officials are available to help no matter what subject a student athlete needs help in.

“They are really helpful,” Wilbur said. “I mean if you have to go in there or you need a tutor, they’ll get you one right away.”

Athletic Academic Services makes athletes’ success a priority. All freshman athletes are required to participate in mandatory tutoring, Uchacz said.

“We do this as a fail-safe. We want to start them out with tutors,” Uchacz said.

As athletes progress in their academic career and begin to excel academically, tutoring no longer becomes mandatory, Uchacz said.

The overall goal of the Athletic Academic Services Office is to graduate student athletes, Uchacz said.

“We’re making sure that all the classes are degree-applicable and that they are meeting their NCAA eligibility marks,” he said.