Student-Athletes Achieve Success in the Classroom
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Student-Athletes Achieve Success in the Classroom

The academic excellence of Valparaiso University student-athletes continues to be recognized, with all 18 sports programs existing prior to the current academic year exceeding the NCAA’s benchmark multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 925.

The NCAA announced 2008-2009 APR data today, June 9, for all Division I institutions. APR is calculated based on academic eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes in each sports program, and the scores released today were a snapshot of the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years.

Sixteen of Valpo’s sports programs achieved an APR equal to or exceeding the average of all Division I schools in their sport, and four Valpo teams (men’s baseball and tennis and women’s softball and volleyball) received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for exemplary academic performance. NCAA Public Recognition Awards are presented to teams that have an NCAA Division I APR in the top 10 percent of all teams in their respective sport.

“We are very pleased to see Valpo student-athletes continue to prove their excellence in competition, in the classroom and in service to the community,” said Mark LaBarbera, director of athletics. “Valpo provides its student-athletes with a well-rounded experience that prepares them for lifelong success.”

The women’s bowling and men’s and women’s golf teams at Valpo, which started competition during the 2009-2010 academic year, are not included in the NCAA report issued today.

“Valpo student-athletes are committed to their academic and personal growth, and having so many of our teams surpass the national average for academic progress is an indicator that our coaches are dedicated helping their team members achieve academic success as well,” LaBarbera said.

Student-athletes from several Valpo teams have been 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 (Adam Rundh, a senior international business and finance major, football; Angie Porché, a senior psychology major, volleyball; and Jackie Kondratko, a senior mechanical engineering major, soccer).

In April 2010, 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.

In November 2009, another NCAA study showed that 82 percent of Valpo’s student-athletes graduated within six years of enrollment and had a Graduation Success Rate of 96 percent. Nationally, the graduation rate for student-athletes at NCAA Division I institutions was 63 percent and the Graduation Success Rate was 79 percent.

President Mark Heckler said the achievements of Valpo’s student-athletes in the classroom and in competition are even more impressive when combined with their dedication to serving others. Approximately 400 Valpo student-athletes performed more than 2,000 hours of community service during the 2009-2010 academic year.

“Valpo student-athletes are mentoring young people in our communities, raising funds to help people around the world who have suffered from disasters and reaching out to senior citizens,” President Heckler said. “This combination of scholarship, commitment to helping others and working with their teammates to achieve success prepares our student-athletes to become thoughtful leaders in all aspects of their lives.”