GC Has No.1 Academic Rate Among Student Athletes in the U.S.


Ty Peavy, Staff Writer

GC recorded a 93% academic success rate for the 2020-2021 school year. They tied with Michigan Tech for the highest academic success rate in the nation for athletes in public Division II Schools.

Academic success rate is the percentage of all athletes, including walk-ons and transfers, that are able to successfully graduate from their respective college.

Athletic Director Wendell Staton Staton said he credits this remarkable rate of academic success among athletes at GC to the time management skills that they must learn in order to balance their obligations as a full time student and an athlete focusing on perfecting one’s craft.

“It’s all about time management, that’s what athletics teaches better than any other skill,” Staton said.

Staton said he feels as if the rigid and busy schedule one has as an athlete requires them to truly focus on assignments in order to finish them in a timely manner. This leads to work being done more completely and proficiently.

Additionally, athletes have a network of people holding them accountable, including coaches and teammates. If an athlete is struggling academically, they can receive support from this network. This network of support is in place for GC’s women’s soccer team.

“We check in regularly with our student athletes to make sure they are doing well,” said Head Coach Tinna Gallagher. “If they need help we are sure to put the resources they need for success in front of them.”

Coach Gallagher also reinforced the importance of academics with her squad by instituting a team goal of averaging a 3.5 GPA.

In order to help reach this goal, Gallagher provides a clear and organized schedule of practice and team functions players are required to be at, while maintaining open communication between players and staff. This has cultivated academic success among her players as several have been recognized as part of the Presidential Honor Roll for the PBC, the PBC’s All-Academic Team, and United Soccer Coaches Association Academic Award.

This academic success is not just limited to soccer. Senior Brandon Thomas of men’s basketball and senior Jordan Bowie of women’s tennis can both boast the fact that they have earned the

Elite 16 Award, a recognition given to the athlete with the highest GPA in their respective sport out of teams who qualify for the conference tournament.

Bowie is a nursing major at GC and is doing her practicum at the Atrium Navicent Hospital in Macon. She credits her busy schedule of being a student athlete and nursing major to her success in school.

“My teammates and I notice that we actually do not do as well in classes when we are in the off season as we lack the motivation and discipline we must have while in season to succeed in tennis and in class,” Bowie said.

She continued, saying that she feels that being forced to use her time much more effectively while in season has contributed a great deal to her overall academic success.

This culture of both academic success and athletic prestige is part of what motivates dynamic student athletes like Brandon Thomas to come to GC. Thomas recounted the appeal that GC had to him in his first campus visit that eventually led to him transferring from Mercer University.

“It was all about that first moment. GC is a nice place, a nice campus,” Thomas said. “It’s welcoming and I felt that it fit my future aspirations better than anywhere else I considered.”

Thomas, a public health major, manages to hold a perfect 4.0 GPA. He looks to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health and eventually become a doctor, all while putting in valuable minutes as a starting guard for men’s basketball.

The hard work and diligence that has led to the remarkable success of these phenomenal student athletes is not just a compliment to their gifts but to the success of the entire organization of GC athletics.

“It’s just a given, it’s just what we do here,” Staton said.