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A&M-CC Athletics Department sets high bar for student-athletes

NCAA hits record-high Student Athlete graduation rates
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Posted at 8:07 AM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-14 01:04:24-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — At Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, education is so important to the Athletics staff that it requires student-athletes to sit in the front of their classes so their professors can know them.

"We have students first and athletes second, which is how it should be," said A&M-CC Director of Athletics Jon Palumbo.

The NCAA reported that Division I Schools have grown from graduating 74% of their athletes in 2004, to 89% percent in 2019.

For 10 straight semesters, Islanders' student athletes have averaged a GPA of 3.0. After nearly 70% of their student athletes made the Southland Conference Academic Honor Role this past fall, they're now challenged to a 3.2 GPA.

"We ask our guys to take the same approach to my classroom that they would any other professor on campus," said Islanders men's basketball coach Willis Wilson.

The athletes are required a certain amount of study hall hours, depending on their GPA, and have random classroom checks to make sure they're attending every class.

Some of the best athletes make the best students, Wilson said, because of their attention to detail and work ethics.

Senior volleyball player Madison Green, who is graduating after three-and-a-half years with a 4.0 was named Southland Conference Setter of the Year. She also was awarded the conference's Volleyball Student Athlete of the Year.

These student-athletes have to learn time management -- fast.

"We're in the gym up to four hours a day, but then we also have homework and classes on top of that and we're typically traveling three to four days a week," Green said.

Still, they work while on the road, where coaches oversee study hall hours and academic advisors proctor exams.

In 2018, the Islanders graduated 98% of their senior student-athletes, and hope to graduate 100% in 2019.

Green is one of the many student-athletes graduating this Saturday.