Through Harry mini
NORFOLK, Virginia – When asked earlier this season about his proudest moments as an Old Dominion football coach, Ricky rahne said one of his bigger ones had nothing to do with blocking and tackling.
It was when he learned that the football team had a cumulative average of 3.10 points last spring.
This is the highest GPA in the program’s history and, unusually high for an FBS football team, said Ron Moses, assistant general manager of sports for internal operations.
âYou don’t see a lot of FBS football teams on a 3.0,â he said.
And it wasn’t just the soccer team that broke the books and studied hard. ODU athletics had its highest cumulative GPA on record at 3.31 last spring. Women’s tennis led all teams with 3.87 while swimming, at 3.53, was the best men’s team.
In total, 17 teams had a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Additionally, 186 athletes – an incredible 42 percent of all who compete at ODU – were on the Dean’s List, meaning they had a GPA of 3.4 or higher. Forty-eight of those students, or 11 percent of ODU athletes, had a perfect GPA of 4.0.
This is impressive considering the time and effort that athletes put into their sport. I work in the sports complex, and even though it’s not baseball season, you hear the bat banging every afternoon and see baseball players walking around the weight room.
It’s not tennis or golf season, but ODU’s men’s and women’s teams are busy competing in tournaments. It’s a chore to play in college and thrive academically and it’s remarkable how many athletes manage to do just that.
The 186 athletes on the Dean’s List, a record number for the ODU, will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s football game against Louisiana Tech. The match is scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m.
ODU athletes excelled during a difficult time. Due to the pandemic, all fall sports teams except football competed in the spring.
Each team did this in a so-called “bubble”, in which they agreed that other than going to class, they would not associate with people other than their teammates.
The soccer team trained and hosted the spring game and the players spent their time away from the pitch in a bubble.
âIt has been a very trying time for all of our coaches and student-athletes,â said athletic director Wood Selig. âTheir dedication and sacrifice was remarkable.
“All of our coaches and Ron Moses and all of his staff deserve a lot of credit.”
Moses heads the Department of Academic Services, Student-Athlete Development, Diversity and Inclusion.
Amy lynch work with basketball player Kalu Ezipke
At least one person is assigned to work with students in all sports, and there has been a special effort to increase the cumulative average of the football team, which until Rahne was appointed coach, was in the spotlight. lags behind most other sports teams.
âA lot of those things are culture and expectations,â Moses said of college football teams, which often do poorly compared to other sports academically.
Football players are more likely to come from more difficult socio-economic circumstances than athletes from many other teams.
âFor a lot of football players the expectation is just to stay eligible, do what you need to do and get out and play. We wanted to raise that expectation to 3.0,â said Moses.
Raising that expectation involved more than running a study hall or tutoring students. Morgan sumner, Sarah walker and Rachel Nelson hold what they call a
summer bridge program, where they work with players on everything from email etiquette to finding lessons that fit their practice schedule.
âWe’re talking a lot about time management skills and academic persistence,â Moses said. “We give them enough support not to hold their hands, but we are here and we care.”
ODU also brought in former players Messiah of Weaver (player development) and Tyler fisher (academic intern) to serve as role models. Both graduated from ODU on time and deWeaver obtained his MBA.
ODU, in part in cooperation with the National Football League Players Association, got a half-dozen NFL players talking to the football team via zoom, including the Washington football team’s defensive lineman TY McGill, who returned to the state of North Carolina to graduate while playing in the NFL.
âOur academic staff are amazing and the reason they’re so good is that they care so much about our children,â said Rahne. âThey’re not here just to help them in class, but to help them see the big picture, how it’s all going to lead them to be successful in life.
âThey provide them with a structured environment that also offers some freedom of choice, which they will face as adults in the workforce. They will have obligations but they will also have choices. They are giving them choices. life lessons that will really help them in the future.
âI told our guys that a great GPA in high school or college doesn’t close any doors. It just opens doors. They don’t turn down jobs because they’re too smart.
“We want to make sure we keep as many doors open in our lives as humanly possible.”
The ODU academic support team:
Erin cousins, director of student-athlete training support services
Kristin eden, director of student-athlete academic services; works with volleyball, men’s and women’s swimming and women’s basketball.
Sarah walker, Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Academic Services, who works with football, field hockey, lacrosse.
Tay hawker, academic advisor in athletics / student-athlete development; coordinator / specialist in international relations, who works with men’s and women’s sailing and
male and female football.
Amy lynch, academic athletics advisor, who works with baseball, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s basketball and also focuses on community service projects
Morgan sumner, academic athletics advisor who works with football, men’s and women’s golf and rowing
Rachel Nelson, academic athletics advisor who works with soccer, cheer and dance teams
Precious Rose, graduate assistant academic services / digital projects and social media manager
Messiah of Weaver, player development / academic assistant
Aliyah Newman, graduate assistant for the well-being of student-athletes
Alexi manley, Academic services / mental health intern
Tyler fisher, football academician intern
Brianna sowatskey, Academic intern / student-athlete in development