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More Than 400 Penn State Student-Athletes Earn 3.0 GPA During Superb Spring Academic Performance

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July 15, 2009

More than 400 Penn State student-athletes earned a grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the 2009 spring semester to highlight another outstanding academic performance, Tim Curley, Director of Athletics, reported today.

During the most recent semester, a total of 401 student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.0 or above last semester. The 401 total represents 59 percent of the 682 young men and women who were members of Penn State's 29 varsity sports last spring, just one percentage point off the school record.

Among the 401 Nittany Lion student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA, 162 earned a 3.50 grade point average or higher to gain Dean's List recognition. The 162 high achievers represented 23.7 percent of all active student-athletes. 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 3.03 with 18 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.

Two Nittany Lion student-athletes earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® honors last spring, giving Penn State a school record 11 selections in 2008-09. Senior Paul Cianciolo (baseball) earned second team Academic All-America® accolades and junior Bridget Franek (women's track and field) earned third team honors.

Penn State has had 146 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® all-time, the fourth highest total in the nation, with 103 honorees in the last 15-plus years under Curley's leadership. A total of 28 Nittany Lion student-athletes have earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® honors the past four 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."

Paul Cianciolo

Penn State's student-athletes, who have captured 19 Big Ten Championships during the past four years and six NCAA titles the past three, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:

- The school record 11 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® in 2008-09 included six first team honorees. A program record five members of the Nittany Lion football team were Academic All-Americans®.

- Penn State student-athletes earned a school record Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent compared to a 78 percent average for all Division I-A institutions, according to NCAA data released last fall.

- According to the 2008 NCAA data, Penn State's 2001-02 entering freshman class earned a school record 84 percent federal graduation rate among student-athletes, significantly above the 64 percent for all Division I institutions. The four-year federal graduation rate average for University Park student-athletes was 82 percent, again well above the national average of 63 percent, and second to Northwestern (88) in the Big Ten.

- In May, the NCAA reported that three Penn State squads earned a perfect multi-year Academic Progress Rate score of 1,000 - field hockey, women's lacrosse and women's tennis - and that 23 of Penn State's 29 varsity programs had a four-year APR score at or above the Division I average for their respective sports

- 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. Penn State has 3,312 overall honorees during the past 15 years to lead all Big Ten institutions in academic all-conference recipients.

- 81 Nittany Lion student-athletes graduated this past May, the second-highest total this decade for Penn State's spring commencement (83 in 2008).

- Of the Penn State student-athletes in the NCAA studies from 1992-93 through 2001-02 who exhausted their eligibility, 96 percent left with their diplomas.


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