Oct. 14, 2009
I have mentioned publicly several times that the football team last year achieved the highest average GPA ever, and I'd like to set the record straight on that statement. Last fall, in order to boost academic performance, I asked the Academic Success Program for the highest-ever team GPA and challenged the players to beat it. The ASP doesn't track team GPAs, so they provided me with an estimate based on their experience dealing with individual performance. They did not make it clear that the number was just an estimate and not an exact calculation. We apologize if this has caused any confusion.
That said, I want to re-emphasize how proud I am of the academic performance of our team members. We have implemented several activities aimed at motivating each player to succeed in the classroom as well as on the field. A number of them have achieved their "personal-best" GPAs, and I believe that each of them will continue to strive for excellence.
-- U-M Head Coach Rich Rodriguez
Statement from Kelly Cunningham, University Spokesperson
Coach Rodriguez believed the figure provided by the Academic Success Program was based on an exact calculation and we regret the confusion this has caused. In fact, the figure was based on a best estimate from our staff who have years of experience in working with student-athletes on their individual academic success.
We don't routinely track a cumulative football team GPA. The ASP focuses on addressing each student's individual needs, and monitoring academic success at the individual rather than team level.
The ASP staff on occasion has calculated actual cumulative team semester GPA figures at the request of a number of coaches -- including Coach Rodriguez. This information is sometimes -- but not always -- retained as a record because it is solely used for motivational activities.
Additional Background on Football Academic Success under Rich Rodriguez:
1. Football Student-athlete of the week: The ASP program nominates three student-athletes of the week based on their individual accomplishments; the coaching staff then chooses one to win. The winner gets a picture posted on a door at the academic center and a picture at the football building. He gets a special parking spot, marked "student-athlete of the week", and a t-shirt for his accomplishment.
2. There is a designated wall in the football building on which scholar athletes are featured.
2. Academic teams: Coaches have teams where students can earn points for their team by:
a. Winning student-athlete of the week
b. Receiving good grades (tests, papers, etc.)
c. Volunteering for community service
d. Being a leader
3. Coach Rodriguez promotes positive classroom behavior and attendance by randomly showing up to sit in on classes.
4. The Coach highlights student-athletes with a certain cumulative GPA by giving them "Above the Line" status. They compete with one another to get "above the line".