Another Record-Setting Academic Semester For ISU Athletics
Sophomore Xavier Riart-Ferrer
Sophomore Xavier Riart-Ferrer

June 3, 2008

NORMAL, Ill. - For an unprecedented sixth-consecutive semester, the Illinois State Athletics Department posted a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) above a 2.9. The Redbirds accumulated a 2.97 GPA in the Spring 2008 semester and four teams set program records for GPA. Among the record-setting teams was the men's tennis squad, which broke the ISU men's program GPA record with its performance.

Illinois State's six men's programs combined for a 2.73 GPA, falling just short of the school-record 2.83 GPA set last semester. The men's tennis team set a new program and department record with a 3.28 GPA and had all nine student-athletes on the AFNI Athletics Honor Roll. The GPA squeaked past the previous record of 3.27 set by the men's golf team during the Fall 2004 semester and broke the program record of 3.26 from the Spring 2006 semester.

"I am proud of the players and this is a major accomplishment for our team," said men's tennis head coach Cris James. "Whenever a new coach comes in, there is a period of adjustment for everyone in the program. Some of the players struggled academically a little more in the fall semester than they had in the past due to this adjustment, but they really turned it around in the spring and bought into the program philosophy. We always strive for balance between academic and athletic performance. The academic success that the student-athletes had last semester is a great indication of how we want to do things at Illinois State."

Illinois State's nine women's programs had a combined 3.20 GPA to follow their record-setting 3.25 GPA from last semester. The women's tennis team garnered the top-spot for the second-consecutive semester with a 3.49 GPA, following its department-record 3.66 GPA from the fall. The Redbird soccer (3.36), swimming and diving (3.32) and volleyball (3.43) teams each had their highest GPA's ever. Both the soccer and swimming and diving teams had their best GPA's since 2006 while the volleyball team attained its highest GPA since the Spring 1993 semester.

The AFNI Athletics Honor Roll for the Spring 2008 semester consisted of 211 student-athletes; 134 females and 77 males. Of that group, 40 student-athletes achieved a 4.0 GPA for the semester; nearly besting the record 42 student-athletes from last semester. The men's tennis team had all of its student-athletes on the AFNI Honor Roll and the gymnastics, swimming and diving, women's golf and volleyball teams all had more than 75 percent of their student-athletes achieve the recognition.

All of the ISU student-athletes' time was not spent practicing, playing or studying, however. They spent just as much time giving back to the Bloomington-Normal community. Illinois State student-athletes contributed 2,195 hours of community service in 2007-08, marking the third-consecutive academic year with more than 2,000 hours. It was the second-highest total in the last three years with the Redbirds compiling 2,338 hours in 2005-06 and 2,189 hours last year.

Associate Athletics Director for Academics and Life Skills Jane Fulton oversees and organizes many of the community service efforts along with her staff in the Karin Bone Athletics Study Center. She sees the tremendous dedication that the Redbird student-athletes have to academics and community service. It is that dedication that allows the Illinois State Athletics Department to maintain such high standards every year.

"Illinois State student-athletes enjoy contributing to the community and understand the importance of service," said Fulton. "The fact that we have had three-straight years with more than 2,000 hours is remarkable and shows how strong their dedication is. They strive to be good role models for the community's youth in addition to supporting the efforts of several nonprofit organizations. Over the past few years, the student-athletes have volunteered their time at local and national service events and are dedicated to continuing their efforts. I am fortunate to work with young adults with such character and passion."