Baylor takes its efforts toward improving both halves of the ‘student-athlete’ seriously. We frequently celebrate our athletic successes, be they Big 12 titles (five in 2010-11) or NCAA appearances (12 this year, including two final fours).
But the student portion of the equation is to be celebrated, as well — and it was another banner year for Baylor in that regard, as well.
33 student-athletes graduated in December and another 55 joined them in May (84 with bachelor’s degrees and 4 with master’s degrees). Among them were NFL first-round pick Phil Taylor (pictured), Olympic gold medalist Darold Williamson, Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year Melissa Jones and Heisman candidate Robert Griffin. (No worries — RG3 graduated early and still has two years of eligibility left.)
Baylor men’s cross country and women’s softball received public recognition from the NCAA for having Academic Progress Rates which rank among the nation’s top 10 percent in their sport. Since the program began six years ago, Baylor has received eight public APR awards in six sports: men’s cross country (2006, 2011), baseball (2007), men’s basketball (2009), men’s golf (2010), women’s golf (2009, 2010) and softball (2011).
After earning three NCAA Elite 88 Awards last year, Baylor added another this spring as women’s tennis’ Taylor Ormond received the award. Ormond had the highest cumulative GPA of any student-athlete participating at her sport’s finals site.
Baseball’s Chris Slater was one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in baseball and was one of three Baylor Academic All-Americans, joining football’s Derek Epperson and women’s track and field’s Jessica Ubanyionwu.
And that doesn’t even include the spiritual and service side of things, as seen in the Baylor sports ministry team’s trip to Kenya earlier this summer.
Sic ’em, Baylor student-athletes!