Gophers Celebrate Academic Highlights

Go Gophers! Gopher senior Nate Fortunato received the 2014 NCAA Elite 89 Award for men's gymnastics.
Go Gophers!
Gopher senior Nate Fortunato received the 2014 NCAA Elite 89 Award for men's gymnastics.
Go Gophers!

July 8, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota athletics department enjoyed academic success during the 2013-14 year along with the Golden Gophers’ athletic achievements. Improved academic progress ratings, strong grade point averages and a multitude of scholastic awards highlight the Maroon & Gold’s 2013-14 academic year.

"Academic success is and always will be a priority for Gopher Athletics, and we take pride in our student-athletes’ recent accomplishments in the classroom," Director of Athletics Norwood Teague said. "Our coaches and support staff, along with the McNamara academic staff, continue to guide our student-athletes toward success in both academics and athletics."

Minnesota student-athlete academic progress continues to improve steadily as evidenced by the latest Academic Progress Rates (APR). Eighteen Gopher athletic teams posted perfect APR scores for the 2012-13 year, which is the highest number of single-year perfect scores in Minnesota athletics history. Nine teams posted perfect multi-year scores, which is also the highest number ever achieved at Minnesota. Additionally, twelve teams received the NCAA Public Recognition Award.

The University of Minnesota ranked fourth among all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions with the highest percentage of teams earning APR awards. Minnesota was the highest ranking public institution in the country and ranked behind only Northwestern, Notre Dame and Duke.

Strong Grade Point Averages

Gopher student-athletes also posted strong grade point averages for the spring semester and academic year, according to figures from the McNamara Academic Center for Student-Athletes. After the spring 2014 term, the average cumulative grade point average for all Gopher student-athletes is 3.22. This is up from last semester and last year, and it is also slightly higher than the University’s general student population (3.21).

In addition, 23 Gopher teams have cumulative grade point averages over 3.0 following the spring 2014 semester, and 20 teams recorded a spring term GPA over 3.0. Nearly 70 percent of Minnesota’s student-athletes have a cumulative GPA above 3.0 as well. Twenty-six student-athletes had a perfect 4.0 this past fall term, and 48 student-athletes had a perfect 4.0 in the spring 2014 term as well.

Several Gopher programs achieved their best academic marks in recent history, highlighted by women’s basketball, soccer and hockey and men’s golf, swimming and tennis. The women’s basketball team posted a spring term average GPA of 3.44 and a spring term average cumulative GPA of 3.29, while Gopher soccer recorded a term grade point average of 3.51 with a cumulative mark of 3.47.

The women’s hockey team earned a 3.53 GPA for the spring 2014 term, the highest on record. In addition, the team's cumulative GPA of 3.22 for spring 2014 ranks second in program history.

The men’s golf team had one of its best semesters in recent years as well, posting a 3.43 term GPA for spring 2014. Gopher men's swimming and men’s tennis both had solid terms, earning a 3.43 and 3.23 GPA, respectively. All but two Gopher men's teams have a cumulative team GPA over 3.0, led by the men’s tennis team’s 3.4.

Individual Academic Awards

A total of 295 Gopher student-athletes, representing approximately 40 percent of Minnesota’s student-athletes, were named Academic All-Big Ten in the 2013-14 academic year. The total marks one of the highest totals the University has ever posted. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

In fall 2013, the Gophers posted the highest number of Academic All-Big Ten student-athletes in over 11 years with 72 fall sport student-athletes being honored. Thirty-five of the 72 were football student-athletes, the highest number ever.

At the conclusion of the 2014 winter sport season, 88 Minnesota student-athletes received Academic All-Big Ten distinction, surpassing last year’s total by more than 20 student-athletes. Another 135 student-athletes were honored by the B1G with spring academic all-conference honors, including 37 women’s track & field student-athletes.

In addition, 61 Minnesota student-athletes were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars in 2013-14. To be honored as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, student-athletes must earn a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year. Distinguished Scholar Award recipients also must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution.

Minnesota student-athletes secured several highly-regarded individual academic accolades during the 2013-14 season as well. Seniors Kelly Terry (women’s hockey) and Nathan Fortunato (men’s gymnastics) were honored among the best in their respective sports as Terry was named the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year and Fortunato received the NCAA Elite 89 Award for men’s gymnastics.

Five football seniors were recognized as members of the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society in Derrick Engel, Jake Filkins, Chris Hawthorne, Aaron Hill and Ed Olson. Seven Gopher rowers were named Scholar Athletes by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association and four women’s cross country runners picked up USTFCCCA All-Academic distinction. Gopher baseball’s Ben Meyer was named CoSIDA Academic All-District as well.

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