July 8, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Long recognized as leaders among Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs in academic performance, Northwestern student-athletes achieved at record rates in the classroom during the just-completed 2013-14 academic year.
Collectively, the members of the Northwestern football program posted a stellar team GPA of 3.04 for the entirety of 2013-14, tying the single-year program record established just one year ago in 2012-13.
The year-end figure was punctuated by NU's 3.08 team mark during the 2014 spring quarter, which constitutes an all-time high for any academic quarter in the program's recorded history. Nearly 60 percent of student-athletes (62-of-104) closed the academic year by earning a 3.0 GPA or higher in Northwestern's spring quarter.
Over the course of the year, 10 different Wildcats combined to record 11 instances of perfect 4.0 GPAs in a given academic quarter.
The strong outcomes in 2013-14 elevated Northwestern's cumulative team GPA -- which takes into account the career-long academic performance of all football student-athletes -- to a remarkable 3.02.
"Our coaching staff could not be more proud of the effort displayed by our young men in the classroom last year," said head coach Pat Fitzgerald. "Achieving a team GPA above a 3.0 at a world-class institution while competing at the highest level of college football speaks directly to the dedication of our student-athletes, the leadership of our academic services staff and this program's commitment to providing the best combination of academics and athletics in the country."
Northwestern's consistent record of achievement in the classroom was reflected in its most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 991 out of a possible 1,000, which ranks as the best in the Big Ten Conference and second in the nation among all 125 FBS programs. APR is a measure based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship student-athlete within all Division I sports programs.
Similarly, the Wildcats' Graduation Success Rate (GSR) stood at 97 percent when announced in October, 2013, the top score in the nation among FBS programs by one percentage point and the best in the Big Ten by seven points. It was the second year in a row that Fitzgerald's Wildcats earned a 97 percent GSR. In June, 21 Wildcats participated in Northwestern University's 156th commencement activities after earning their undergraduate degrees, 17 of whom will return for their final year of playing eligibility in 2014.
Last fall, seven veteran Northwestern student-athletes spent their final year on campus pursuing a master's degree: PK Jeff Budzien (Master of Sports Administration), DB Davion Fleming (Integrated Marketing and Communications), LS Pat Hickey (MSA), WR Mike Jensen (Master of Project Management in Engineering), RB Mike Trumpy (MSA), LB Timmy Vernon (Master of Liberal Studies) and P Brandon Williams (Engineering Design Innovation).
Northwestern also set a program record in 2013 when 36 players earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition -- topping the previous high of 34 set in 2012 -- an honor given to student-athletes of at least sophomore status with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher. The 36 honorees represented the most of any Big Ten football program last fall.
Individually, three Wildcats earned Capital One Academic All-District laurels in November, recognizing their combination of strong academic and athletic performance. Senior running back Mike Trumpy was joined by juniors Collin Ellis and Brandon Vitabile in receiving the distinction, with Ellis and Vitabile -- who are studying learning and organizational change and economics, respectively -- set to return in 2014 as strong candidates to earn Capital One Academic All-America consideration.
Fitzgerald, now entering his ninth season as head coach of his alma mater, will guide the Wildcats into the 2014 season-opener on Saturday, Aug. 30, vs. Cal at Ryan Field. Season tickets are available now by visiting the NUsports.com Online Ticket Office or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE.
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