Student athletes at Youngstown State University have proven their ability to achieve both on and off the field.
While they are only required to maintain an approximate cumulative GPA of 2.0, the average cumulative GPA among YSU athletes is a 3.07.
Ron Strollo, the YSU Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, oversees everything with relation to athletics; he positively commented on the character of collegiate athletes.
“Historically, these kids have committed so much time and effort in their sport and to their education at the high school level; I think they’re well equipped when they get here for time management and those other skills to succeed,” Strollo said.
On average, 62 percent of student athletes at YSU graduate within six years of enrollment, while only 35 percent of YSU’s general student population does so.
Chet Cooper, a professor at YSU, serves as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative. Cooper believes that a big factor in athletes’ academic success is their ability to recognize the value of their degree.
“Most student athletes realize that this is their last shot at playing their sport … so these students who are academically serious, they realize that their degree means the future for them,” Cooper said.
Strollo also expressed concern for student athletes who he said are often under tremendous pressure.
“I think there’s a lot of stress on our kids … they’re competitive kids,” he said. “They want to make sure they’re competing in their sport, but also the anxiety that they have and the pressures they put on themselves academically is really high.”
Brittany Stockmaster, a junior and member of the honors program at YSU, competes for the women’s cross country and track and field teams. She mentioned that she sometimes feels pressured to succeed by coaches and teammates.
“[Our coaches] want us to excel at both academics and athletics, so they make sure that we put the time in for both,” Stockmaster said.
Carolyn Jesko, a senior and member of the honors program at YSU, plays on the women’s tennis team. Like Stockmaster, Jesko feels pressure to succeed, but she said a strong support system can be instrumental in assuring collegiate success.
“Our administration is really helpful,” she said. “If you need any help you can go to the administration, you can go to the academic advisors, or your coach. It’s a big support system that we have.”
Elaine Jacobs, the YSU Associate Director of Athletics, works closely with Strollo. Jacobs believes discipline plays a major role in athletes’ academic success.
“A large majority of [professors] would say that the student athletes they work with are a joy to work with,” Jacobs said. “They come in disciplined; they come in prepared; they know that there’s things they need to do, and sometimes there’s a stronger motivation for them to be successful.”