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Sports | Web Update

Faculty Athletic Committee report shows academic growth

Published: March 20, 2014, 11:35 pm ET
Collegian Reporter

The Faculty Athletic Committee released a report this month that included a student-athlete fall 2013 academic report, an updated concussion awareness letter and information about a pending student-athlete satisfaction survey.

The fall 2013 academic report documents the second-best student-athlete fall grade point average on record of 3.12, following fall 2012 in the top spot. Twelve of 15 teams achieved a team GPA of 3.00 or higher. Of the 360 student-athletes, 64 made the Dean’s List, and nine had a cumulative GPA below 2.00.

Women’s tennis posted the highest fall 2013 team GPA of 3.62. Head coach Mark Wesselink said this achievement was a tribute to the players’ character and drive.

“I am completely in awe of the 3.62 GPA,” Wesselink wrote in an email. “It definitely comes in handy on the court. Tennis is very much a mental game. I often remind my players that they should have an advantage there.”

While balancing athletics and academics is a large, year-round commitment, being on a structured regimen also helps in classes, said Sam Cicconi, a junior on the women’s soccer team. Women’s soccer achieved their highest fall GPA on record of 3.25 this past year.

“You learn to plan your studies according to your games and practices which really makes things easier to stay on top of,” Cicconi said. “It’s also nice because we’re not doing this alone… It’s great having a team you can depend on.”

Just six of the 15 teams’ GPAs were listed in the report. Upon request of the withheld GPAs, Bruce Matthews, assistant athletic director who oversees academics for all student-athletes, said such specific information is generally not released to the public.

“However, we are pleased with the overall academic progress of our students and teams,” Matthews wrote in an email.

The FAC report also included information about an updated concussion awareness letter that is sent to faculty when one of their student-athletes has sustained a concussion. The letter is sent on behalf of the University of Richmond sports medicine and student-athlete support departments.

“Our policy states that no student-athlete will return to full activity until symptom free, has completed our return-to-play protocol and is cleared,” the letter reads.

The letter was updated as part of an annual review of all policies and procedures, said Chris Jones, assistant athletic director of sports medicine.

“We periodically review all our procedures to ensure they are as current as possible,” Jones wrote in an email. “The dean’s office and faculty members have been informed about concussions for many years.”

The final piece of the FAC report was information about a pending student-athlete satisfaction survey. Randy Raggio, FAC chair, said he hoped to have the survey administered this semester prior to final exams and would use feedback to determine potential areas of improvement.

“The survey will cover student-athletes’ academic, athletic and social experiences at UR,” Raggio wrote in an email. “For example, we are interested in knowing if student-athletes have difficulty scheduling classes at times that do not conflict with practices or competitions.”

The FAC’s goal is to provide “information, advice and faculty perspectives on all issues related to the educational experiences of student athletes,” according to the report. The FAC comprised five faculty members and two ex-officio members.

“I see my role as chair to help the committee understand and fulfill its charter,” Raggio said, “which primarily entails communication between the faculty and athletic department.”

Contact reporter Meghan Cummings at meghan.cummings@richmond.edu

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