Goshen College’s athletic teams posted a 3.2 average GPA last semester, a recent report revealed. This adds yet another semester to the program’s perfect record of over 3.0 since stats were first kept in 2007.
The women’s cross country team, which won the 2019 Academic Team of the Year award, remains at the top of the leaderboard with an average GPA of 3.70. Women’s track and field is next on the list with a 3.48 average, followed by men’s tennis at 3.46, and women’s volleyball at 3.45.
Rustin Nyce, head coach of the two highest scoring teams, women’s cross country and track and field, believes that his athletes’ academic success isn’t a coincidence.
Nyce says the key is picking recruits who “get what Goshen is about and come in with the expectation that they need to perform well.” To him that’s not limited to just athletics or academics.
“When you find high achieving people in one, they can be high achieving in the other,” he says.
Nyce has high expectations for his teams. “My goal is to continue to get better until we can’t get any better. That would mean everybody is hitting standards and we are winning conference.”
“3.7 is great,” he says. “But there’s .3 left to go. So there are areas for growth.”
Athletic Director Harold Watson isn’t satisfied with “good enough” either. His goal is to get the athletic department’s average GPA up to a 3.30.
Watson agrees with Nyce that choosing incoming athletes carefully is important for reaching this goal. “We want to make sure (recruits) are going to come here and be a member of our community and that they’re able to handle the rigors of Goshen College academics.”
What it really gets down to is the “nitty gritty” of student athletes “challenging themselves (academically) in the same way that we want our student athletes to challenge themselves on the court,” he said.
In order to be high-achieving, Nyce says, student athletes have to represent themselves the way they think they deserve to be represented. Academically, Goshen’s athletic program is already doing that.
“There are people that are representing our college and managing their time and sacrificing a lot in order to achieve academically as well as athletically and it’s important to recognize that.” Nyce said.
Goshen College records athletic team GPAs at the end of each semester. In June, a cumulative GPA for the year is calculated and teams with an average over 3.0 are nominated for NAIA Scholar Athlete Team status.
Right now, 11 Goshen College teams are on track to receive that honor.