The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 12, 2013

MSU athletic success starts with smarts


It's been a very successful year for Minnesota State athletics, with seven teams and several individuals qualifying for and competing deep into national tournaments.
But's it's been an equally successful season in the classroom for Mavericks' athletics, as the combined grade-point average of 3.18 during spring semester was a nice complement to several individual academic awards.
"I think we've really gotten away from `dumb jock syndrome,' " said Kevin Buisman, the athletic director at Minnesota State. "You have to credit the coaches for recruiting athletes who have what it takes to be successful in the classroom, as well as in athletics."
Buisman said the cumulative spring-semester GPA for athletes in 20 sports was 3.18, which was about as high as he could remember in his 11 years at Minnesota State. In 11 women's sports, the cumulative GPA was 3.40. In nine men's sports, that number is 2.91.
"You have to have kids who know how to think the game," women's basketball coach Emilee Thiesse said. "There's a correlation between success in athletics and academics.
"It's important that you have a team that supports each other, that understands when someone needs to study, that can study together if they have the same classes. They take academics seriously."
The highest spring GPA in the women's department came from the tennis team at 3.68, just slightly higher than the 3.65 by the volleyball squad. The women's basketball team, which had a 3.5 GPA, was one of five women's program to have five athletes with a 4.0 GPA, joining indoor track, outdoor track, soccer and volleyball.
For the men, the highest spring GPA was 3.12 by the cross country team, and the golf team was also over 3.0 at 3.02. The indoor track team had five athletes with a 4.0 in the spring.

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