Student-athletes' Success Demonstrated in NCAA Report
Student-athletes' Success Demonstrated in NCAA Report
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Student-athletes at Valparaiso University continue to distinguish themselves academically, graduating at a higher rate than their peers at many other universities, according to information released by the NCAA today, Oct. 27.

Using an average of graduation rates compiled by the four most recent classes, the NCAA study showed that 82 percent of Valpo's student-athletes graduated within six years of enrollment and that they had a Graduation Success Rate of 93 percent.

The graduation rate is determined using methodology employed by the federal government, while the Graduation Success Rate, which incorporates information on students transferring into and out of institutions, was created by the NCAA. Nationally, the graduation rate for student-athletes at NCAA Division I institutions was 64 percent and the Graduation Success Rate was 79 percent.

For the second consecutive year, both the graduation rate and the Graduation Success Rate for Valpo's student-athletes were among the highest for members of its conference, the Horizon League.

Reports on specific teams for the most recent cohort year showed the men's cross country/track team and women's swimming, cross country/track and volleyball teams each achieved 100 percent graduation rates and Graduation Success Rates. Other teams with 100 percent Graduation Success Rates were men's swimming and women's soccer, softball and tennis.

"Valpo's student-athletes continue to distinguish themselves through their outstanding achievements in the classroom, in competition and in service to the community," President Mark Heckler said. "Valpo enables each student-athlete to pursue his or her own personal journey here, combining academic and athletics experiences that prepare them for leadership in their professions and communities."

Heckler noted that Valpo provides a rigorous academic program for all students, and that the graduation rate for its student body as a whole is much higher than the national average.

"Our student-athletes demonstrate a tremendous commitment to their studies, and I thank the coaches and members of the athletics department who support the academic success of these students," Heckler said.

Mark LaBarbera, director of athletics, said the NCAA recognition illustrates how Valpo student-athletes dedicate themselves to academic success.

"Valpo student-athletes and coaches know that excelling in the classroom is essential for lifelong success," LaBarbera said. "This combination of excellence in competition, in their academic pursuits and in serving the community is one of the distinctive aspects of the Valpo experience for our student-athletes."

In May 2010, four Valpo athletic teams – men's baseball and tennis and women's softball and volleyball – received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their exemplary academic performance. The award is presented to teams that have an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all teams in their respective sport. The calculation of APR tracks the academic progress of each student-athlete and includes eligibility, retention and graduation.

During the spring 2010 semester, 82 student-athletes received Presidential Academic Honors in recognition of earning a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher after at least three semesters at Valpo, including six members of the Class of 2010 who graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher.

Student-athletes from several Valpo teams were named to Horizon League or Pioneer Football League All-Academic Teams during the 2009-2010 academic year, and three were named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans.