Student-athletes at the University of Illinois continue to excel both in the classroom and on the playing field. Our mission in Academic Services is to provide an opportunity for the student-athlete to be as successful as possible scholastically while competing at the highest level athletically. Success in achieving this mission is evident by the on-and-off field performances of all our athletic teams. During the 2011-12 academic year, Illinois athletic teams posted a combined grade point average of 3.05. In the fall, 11 out of the 19 sports earned a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. In the spring semester, that number improved to 13 out of 19 teams above a 3.0. For the fall semester, more than 54 percent of Illinois student-athletes earned GPAs above a 3.0; in the spring, that number was 56 percent. Last fall, 14 student-athletes earned perfect 4.0 GPAs, while 19 student-athletes had perfect GPAs in the spring 2012 semester.
In conjunction with our academic emphasis, at the University of Illinois we are committed to preparing well-rounded citizens to be leaders in all aspects of their lives. The CHAMPS Life Skills program, geared toward promoting the complete student-athlete, is available to all our young men and women. The program features five areas of emphasis: Academic Excellence, Athletic Excellence, Personal Development, Career Development, and Community Service. As part of that initiative, our student-athletes are very active in the Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities, completing more than 6,000 hours of service in the 2011-12 academic year. Through their Jock Jams fundraiser, University of Illinois student-athletes raised over $16,000 to go to the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen in Champaign, Special Olympics of Illinois, and the SALSC (Student Athletes Leading Social Change) group. The Illini Leadership Academy, through our ongoing partnership with sports leadership expert Jeff Janssen, continues to develop leadership skills in Illinois athletes both on and off the field. Continued partnerships with the organization Career Athletes and with the Game Theory Group are assisting our student-athletes in their career development.
A useful measure of the success of University of Illinois student-athletes can be seen in the graduation success rate of the scholarship student-athletes. The most recent GSR published by the NCAA for Illinois is 89 percent. This rate does not reflect the graduation rate of all Illinois athletes, as it does not include non-scholarship student-athletes. We anticipate this rate would be even higher should all athletes be included. Such high marks are further evidence of Illinois’ emphasis on academic achievement and the continued commitment of our coaches and administration to provide unmatched support services for our student-athletes to excel in the classroom.
To be recognized as the best, Illinois student-athletes not only have to achieve success athletically, but also in the classrooms, lecture halls, and laboratories across campus. The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics is committed to helping our student-athletes attain their goals by providing comprehensive academic resources and services, allowing our student-athletes to position themselves for great life experiences, and to take advantage of all the benefits associated with a valuable University of Illinois education.