Athlete SATs ninth highest in the nation

By Mindy Wiggins
News Staff

Tech is a difficult school. Most students would agree with that statement in an instant. Because of the difficulty of the school, it is easy to assume that the student athletes at Tech exhibit an academic performance that is above that of the athletes at other schools. In an article that was published on September 27, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution contradicted this belief by saying that Tech ranked eighth out of nine schools in the ACC in terms of the SAT scores of its football players, and was not even competing with the national leaders in the same category. This article, which was based on erroneous data, came as a surprise to most of the people who are associated with Georgia Tech athletics.
According to President G. Wayne Clough, the picture that was painted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the academic qualifications of Tech football players was "in sharp contrast to the reputation that Tech has always enjoyed as an outstanding academic institution which competes extremely well on the athletic field." The article was inaccurate because there were errors in the SAT scores that were reported to the NCAA by Tech since 1995. The errors, which resulted in an 81-point understatement of the athletes' average SAT score, were due to a misunderstanding about retroactively adjusting SAT scores to reflect the new SAT grading scale which was implemented in 1995.
The correct SAT data shows that the Tech football program ranks second in the ACC and ninth in the country in academic qualifications. Including the most recent data that was presented to the NCAA, the football team GPA increased to 3.03, and the team's average SAT score rose to 1010. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently ran another article that corrected the error.
"We are pleased that the accurate information validates our commitment to outstanding academics and quality athletics. As one of the very few technological research universities that even compete at the NCAA Division I level, that distinction is extremely important to all of us in the Georgia Tech community," said Clough.
The discrepancies surrounding correct and incorrect SAT scores have been cleared up since the AJC ran the second article. However, the situation provides an opportunity to examine how Tech athletes perform in the academic world.
According to recent numbers, Tech athletes fare pretty well in their classes. Out of a total of 375, 149 student athletes made the Dean's List for Spring Quarter. Amateur golf champion Matt Kuchar was among those who received the honor, along with basketball's Matt Harpring and football's Jason Bostic.
The Georgia Tech Athletic Association provides many services which lead student athletes toward academic success.
According to Athletic Director Dave Braine, "Tech probably has more services than most schools in the country, because we need to."
Such services include mandatory study halls and advisement. The football team has three advisors, and there are two other full-time advisors and one part-time advisor who are available to other athletes. Advisors require their students to submit weekly reports of their academic progress.
"We have very hands-on advisors here," said Dr. Carole Moore, head of academic advisement services at the GTAA.
Additionally, those who work to provide academic services at the GTAA strive to build time management skills along with other positive study habits.
"We provide resources to them, and encourage them to ask for assistance. We want them to approach academics with a different mindset than they are used to," said Moore.
"We continue to do our best to ensure that the kids here have every opportunity to graduate, because that's why they are here," commented Braine.
According to Moore, the myth that all athletes are management majors is not true. Tech's student athletes are enrolled in a variety of majors. While 140 of them are management majors, 102 are in engineering disciplines, 41 are in various areas of the Ivan Allen College, and 24 are in sciences. Five are in building construction, and five are enrolled in computing.

Copyright © 1998 by Gregory S. Scherrer, Editor and by the Student Publications Board

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