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April 16, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - More than 400 Penn State student-athletes earned a grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the 2009 Fall semester to highlight another outstanding academic performance, Tim Curley, Director of Athletics, reported today.
During the most recent semester, a total of 415 student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.0 or above. The 415 total represents 58 percent of the 714 young men and women who were members of Penn State's 29 varsity sports last fall, just two percentage points off the school record.
Among the 415 Nittany Lion student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA, 189 earned a 3.50 grade point average or higher to gain Dean's List recognition. Dean's List students must complete a minimum of 12 credits in a semester.
Penn State's 29 varsity teams had an average GPA of 3.02 with 20 squads earning a team semester GPA of 3.0 or higher, according to Russ Mushinsky, Director of the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes. The cheerleaders and Lionettes dance team also posted team GPAs of 3.0 or better.
Five Nittany Lion student-athletes earned first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® honors last fall, on the heels of Penn State's school record 11 selections in 2008-09. Women's volleyball national Player of the Year Megan Hodge was selected the Academic All-American® of the Year for her sport. Nittany Lion football student-athletes Josh Hull, Andrew Pitz and Stefen Wisniewski earned first team Academic All-America® accolades, as did men's soccer standout Jason Yeisley, who was selected the Lowe's Senior Class Award winner in his sport.
Penn State has had 151 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® all-time, the third highest total in the nation, with 108 honorees in the last 16 years under Curley's leadership. A total of 33 Nittany Lion student-athletes have earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® honors the past four-plus years.
"We continue to be very pleased by the excellent academic achievements of our student-athletes," Curley said. "Our student-athletes consistently achieve at a high level. Their academic success is a credit to their outstanding work-ethic and dedication and to the encouragement they receive from our faculty, academic support personnel and coaches."
Penn State's student-athletes, who have captured 23 Big Ten Championships during the past five years and eight NCAA titles the past four, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:
- Penn State student-athletes earned a school record Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent for the second consecutive year, compared to a 79 percent average for all Division I-A institutions, according to NCAA data released last November. The 89 percent figure was second highest among Big Ten Conference institutions.
- According to the 2009 NCAA data, Penn State's four-year federal graduation rate average was 82 percent, again well above the national average of 63 percent, and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten schools.
- The 2009 NCAA data revealed that student-athletes from 23 of Penn State's 25 teams (track/cross country teams combined) earned a Graduation Success Rate at or above the national GSR average of 79 percent. Seven Penn State squads earned a Graduation Success Rate of 100 percent and 21 of 25 Nittany Lion teams earned a GSR higher than or equal to the national average for their respective sport.
- A total of 253 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2008-09, tied for Penn State's second-highest total in the program's existence.
- 81 Nittany Lion student-athletes graduated this last May, the second-highest total during the decade for Penn State's spring commencement (83 in 2008).
- Of the Penn State student-athletes in the NCAA studies from 1993-94 through 2002-03 who exhausted their eligibility, 96 percent left with their diplomas.