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  • Posted May 19, 2011 by
    Evansvile, Indiana

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    Graduation Rates Between Athletes vs. Non-Athletes


    The University of Southern Indiana requires an overall grade point average of 3.0 for its student athletes. Even with the specific requirements athletes must attain, the graduation rates between athletes and non-athletes doesn’t differ much. However, regardless of the possible slight difference in graduation rates, the involvement in athletics seems to be of much importance to many USI students.

    Kyle Kress, senior at USI, had played for the university’s basketball team.

    “I believe that being involved with sports during college enhances one’s college overall experience” Kress said. “There’s dedication, motivation and a great sense of satisfaction to be part of a team where every player is vital.”

    The university offers scholarships for a variety of sports including men’s and women’s baseball/softball, soccer, basketball, track, golf and tennis.

    “The ongoing goal of the athletic department at the university is to achieve national prominence in each varsity sport while maintaining academic excellence,” said Wendy Knipe Bredhold, a media relation specialist who works at the News & Information Services. “The university is focused on having high graduation rates and for athletics to have any part of lowering those chances just wouldn’t make sense.”

    In USI’s 2011-2013 operating and capital improvement budget request the strategic plan focuses on experiential learning, student success and graduation rate, campus community, leadership, diversity, and creating a 24/7 campus. The new strategic goals include: to enhance experiential learning opportunities, improve the graduation rate, preserve and nurture our campus community, provide leadership to Indiana and the region, increase the diversity of faculty, staff and student body and to become a 24/7 campus.

    “Sports has many physical benefits,” said David Maldonado, the athletic trainer for USI’s basketball team. “I believe that as long as you are not too hard on yourself and prioritize, sports is a way someone can get away from the books. Kids in college need to be active.”

    Playing soccer since she was four years old, Samantha Labno has always stood out on the field.

    “I love playing soccer because of so many reasons,” Labno said. “Among keeping me entertained and active, I am able to challenge myself when it comes to competitions. It really tests everyone’s teamwork skills and allows the team to strategize and rely on each other. In 2007, my high school in Portage made it to the final four in Indianapolis and even though we didn’t win it, we were able to compete with the top teams in the state and that itself was something to be proud of.”

    USI senior, Kyle Acker, also believes in the importance of an education and believes the university manages their teams in a great way.

    “It can get hard multi-tasking sports with academics, but as long you don’t over-do it, sports are a great thing to be involved with.”

                Athlete alumni Laura Ellerbusch believes that there is a lot of pride one should consider when part of a team.

                “Back in 2006, I was recognized as a top student athlete at USI’s fourth annual All-Sports Banquet,” Ellerbusch said. “While I received a bachelors degree in elementary education I also played volleyball and that allowed me to become the first player in school history to earn American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Division II Player of the Week honors. It’s great to be able to participate in a sport that I loved and then on top of that, to be recognized for my skill.”

    More and more students are getting active and are joining a variety of sports that both USI and the community offer. As important as it is for a student to complete his or her degree, it is a popular belief for many that they be involved in an environment where they can enhance their team-playing skills.

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