Friday, March 2, 2012
Golden Grizzlies lead Summit League with academic honors
|OU's 4.0 student athletes, clockwise from top left: Spencer Marentette, Jenna Lange, Jocelyn Odom, Caymen Novak.
Oakland University’s corral of student athletes is not only excelling on the courts, the fields, the lanes and the track, but in the classroom as well. The Golden Grizzlies recently led the Summit League’s Academic All-League Team with honorees, for the fifth consecutive semester.
A total of 62 student athletes placed on the Summit League Fall Academic All-League Team, which requires a 3.0 GPA or higher during their semester of competition. Of these, 25 student-athletes earned the Distinguished Scholar accolades, a special recognition for students posting a GPA of 3.6 or above.
At home, 212 student athletes representing 18 varsity teams have attained the Golden Grizzlies Excellence in Academics honor for the fall 2011 term, which equates to 64 percent of OU’s student athlete population. Four of these students maintained a perfect 4.0.
“Our student-athletes definitely focus on the student in student-athlete,” said Evan Dermidoff, athletic academic adviser. “Even before our student athletes set foot on campus, they know academics are a priority here. And we continue to emphasize that they are students first and athletes second. Our students really believe in this, and that’s why we continue to see the academic success we do.”
Business major and baseball player Spencer Marentette, elementary education major and volleyball player Jenna Lange, health sciences major and swimming and diving member Jocelyn Odom, and engineering major and track member Caymen Novak each brought home a 4.0 GPA while taking 16 or more credits.
These students led their peers in academics, creating an average 3.08 GPA for all of Oakland’s athletes, across all sports.
This widespread academic success stems from a variety of guidelines from the NCAA, Summit League Conference, OU’s Department of Athletics, and individual teams. Oakland sets the bar higher than other organizations, requiring that student athletes enroll in at least 16 credits per term, above the 12 credit minimum that establishes “full time student” status, according to Dermidoff.
Many individual coaches mandate a higher GPA and more rigorous coursework for students to compete and travel.
Oakland provides its students and student athletes with several avenues to improve their academic performance, such as the Academic Skills Center and Grizzly Academic Center. Individual meetings and tutoring sessions are held for student athletes that are struggling in the classroom.
“Our student athletes know how to handle challenges,” Dermidoff said. “They have been challenged most of their lives in their sport and so taking tough classes in a demanding major isn’t new to them. A vast majority of students welcome the challenge and usually thrive in that type of environment. OU offers a wealth of excellent academic programs and our student athletes do extremely well in many of them.”
For more information about Oakland’s athletics, view the website at ougrizzlies.com