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MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Student athletes at a Middle Georgia college are succeeding on and off the court. Georgia College and State University ranks first in graduation rate among the state’s NCAA student-athletes.
Not only do the Bobcats win on the court and field, student-athletes at Georgia College lead the state in the Federal Graduation Rates, and outscore the rest of the student body.
“When I signed to play here, I knew this was a top school in Georgia and I knew our athletic department was really serious about our academics,” basketball player for Georgia College, Sydney Cleveland said.
Cleveland has played basketball her entire life. She’s graduating in May and playing her last season.
“They know that they’re not going to have a professional career after their college playing days are over, so they’re looking for career options and they’re choosing the major they want to choose,” Economics Professor and Faculty Athletics Representative Ken Farr said.
Cleveland is a player on a bigger team at Georgia College by helping the school lead the state in the Federal Graduation Rates for student-athletes.
“We make sure we put the academic in front of the athletic component and a lot of times that takes sacrificing a practice,” Georgia College Women’s Head Basketball Coach Maurice Smith said.
Bobcat’s student-athletes have a 79-percent graduation rate and average a 3.2 GPA. The play book to success is simple for the institution.
“Recruiting faculty who want to be good teachers to recruiting coaches who want to bring in students who are going to be successful,” Farr said.
Faculty, staff, and coaches emphasize more on the student than the athlete.
“The athletic part is just a bonus,” Cleveland said.
Smith says he hasn’t made study hall mandatory in 10-years. He says the athletes they recruit are academic and career focused.
There’s a learning center on campus and tutors are available for students.