More than half of UT's athletes post GPA of 3.0 or higher

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ( -- University of Tennessee student-athletes earned noteworthy success in the classroom during the 2010-11 academic year.

For the spring term, average GPA of the men and women wearing Tennessee uniforms was 2.93. A total of 52.9 percent compiled GPAs of 3.0 or higher and 18 student-athletes earned a perfect 4.0.

The most recent Federal Graduation Rate indicates that student-athletes graduate at a slightly higher rate than the student body in general, with a 62 percent rate for student-athletes and 60 percent for the student body as a whole. Seventy (70) student-athletes completed their degrees and graduated in either December or May, with an additional 16 student-athletes scheduled to graduate in August. The Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC) program provided the opportunity for seven former student-athletes to return to campus and complete their degrees.

“Student-athletes are often only measured by success in their sports,” said Donna Thomas, Director of UT’s Thornton Athletics Student Life Center. “The less obvious stat associated with their lives is classroom performance. Clearly, the young men and women on our teams are winning in the classroom. These victories will prove to be more important in the long run.”

Two student-athletes, Nikki Fowler from volleyball and John-Patrick Smith from tennis, received NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships as a result of their performances in the classroom and on the court. Fowler also was one of four Lady Vols named to CoSIDA Academic All-America teams. Joining her on the first team were track and field’s Chanelle Price and softball’s Raven Chavanne. Basketball’s Angie Bjorklund was a second-team choice.

The SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll included 99 student-athletes from Tennessee. Those student-athletes are representatives from baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, and rowing.

In addition, another 71 student-athletes were named to the 2011 SEC First-Year (formerly Freshman) Academic Honor Roll.

When classes begin in August, 10 student-athletes will compete while enrolled in graduate school or pursuing a second undergraduate degree. These men and women have earned their undergraduate degrees and have chosen to continue their education while completing their athletic eligibility.