This archived article was written by: Robert Young
Most people are aware of or contribute to the stereotypes associated with student athletes.
Student athletes are often characterized as spoiled, selfish, lethargic, and poor performers in the classroom. However, the CEU athletic program is breaking the stereotypes.
For the duration of the 2000-2003 academic years, the CEU athletic teams graduated 80 percent of its athletes, and over the past ten years, the athletic program has a graduation rate of 79 percent.
Compare those statistics to the general population of students at CEU, who have a graduation rate of just 32 percent over the past three years.
The CEU athletic program’s graduation rate is higher than the majority of the prestigious universities throughout America, including Stanford University in California,
The College of Eastern Utah athletics is exceeded by just one percent by the NCAA Division 1 leader in graduation rate, St. Mary’s University, which has a graduation rate of 81 percent.
On average, Division 1 athletics have a graduation rate of approximately 60 percent.
Student athletes at CEU are not only graduating, but are excelling as students in the classroom. Over the past several years, CEU’s athletic teams have boasted overall grade point averages of near or above 3.0.
Instructors and faculty members have applauded the efforts of the student athletes, proclaiming many of them as leaders in the classroom.
CEU’s Athletic Director David Paur professes that academic success throughout CEU’s athletic programs is of utmost importance.
Paur stated, “Our athletic budget is easily the smallest in the region. We don’t have the financial resources to compete athletically across the board with many schools. However, we can’t control our monetary circumstance, but we can control the emphasis we put on academics.”
He added, “[CEU’s] president, trustees, coaches, and myself, have made a considerable effort to stress the importance of our programs’ academic success.”
Paur also serves as CEU’s head women’s basketball coach. His team’s efforts surpass all other sports, as the women’s basketball program exhibits a graduation rate of 94 percent over the past ten years.
In addition to the women’s basketball program’s academic success, the baseball and women’s volleyball teams have displayed significantly high academic success rates.
Men’s basketball, which universally has the lowest graduation rates among college athletics in America, has also achieved significantly noteworthy successes in academics at CEU.
The men’s basketball program has a 76 percent graduation rate over the past ten years.
That percentage has been even higher, 80 percent; under the six-year tenure of current men’s basketball coach Bryan Zollinger.
Michael Kirkpatrick is a CEU basketball player, and one of several athletes striving toward attaining a 4.0 grade point average for the fall semester.
Kirkpatrick commented, “Academics are a priority in the athletic program at CEU. We’re reprimanded for missing class, and are expected to perform well in each of our classes.”
Kirkpatrick continued, “Our team must attend mandatory study hall sessions on a nightly basis. We’re also encouraged to use the resources provided on campus such as tutoring to help us with our classes.”
CEU’s athletic program is proud of its efforts to change the negative connotations often associated with student athletes. More importantly, the program is excited about the many opportunities academic success is providing its athletes in their future endeavors.