A New Definition of Winning in Athletics

    If ever an athletics program can be called the "Comeback Team" it is the revolutionary change that has occurred over the past five years at Texas Southern University in the success of their student athletes. The most notable aspect of this "comeback" is that it is in the classroom as well as on the field.

    Athletics Director Dr. Charles McClelland brought in new coaches to bring the teams back to a competitive level. At the same time he also brought in an outstanding compliance and academic support team to bring the academic performance and graduation rate up. The NCAA is releasing the latest graduation rates for Division 1 schools and Texas Southern University has risen from one of the worst in the country in 2008 at 29%, to today when better than 54% of TSU athletes are graduating in six years. Indeed this last May, 58 student athletes received their degrees, compared to 14 in 2009.

    Even more encouraging is the projected student athlete graduation rate based on the most recent APR (Academic Progress Rate) data that was submitted to the NCAA last week. Although the NCAA won’t officially certify and release the APR numbers until May 2015, Texas Southern University’s 2013-2014 APR is 970 for the department overall (up from 833 in 2009). All 16 sports at TSU are above the NCAA mandated APR with football at 977, men’s basketball at 953, and four sports (women’s basketball, women’s golf, women’s cross country track, and women’s volleyball) scoring a perfect 1000 APR.

    Dr. McClelland predicts that the 970 APR rate will result in a better than 70% graduation rate in the next few years, placing it among the Division 1 academic elite teams.

    "This dramatically demonstrates that with the right leadership and a concerted effort, college athletes can be highly successful in the classroom as well as on the field," said Texas Southern University President John Rudley. "Dr. McClelland and his team have focused on ensuring that our student athletes are winning in the classroom first, which will ensure that they will graduate and continue to be winners at whatever career they choose, whether it is in athletics or in the corporate boardroom."