It was announced a few weeks ago that Mercyhurst leads the PSAC for the third time in four years for Academic Success Rates (ASR). This rating measures degree completion over a four-year period among freshman classes. Essentially, it tracks the ability for enrolled freshman athletes to complete their degree programs in four years. Mercyhurst leads the conference with an 87 percent graduation rate.
Six athletic programs are considered to have seen 100 percent academic success: men’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s golf, softball, women’s basketball and women’s tennis. Millersville University, which had five programs see a 100 percent success rate, was the only other PSAC team to have four or more teams with that same level of academic success. Thirty-two programs from 12 different schools in the PSAC made up the total number of schools with a 100 percent ASR. Three of the last four ASR surveys have seen Mercyhurst lead the PSAC.
Joe Kimball, the athletic director for Mercyhurst, is very proud of the school and the athletes’ focus on academics. According to Kimball, achievements such as this one “start with the coaches.”
The coaches are now recruiting not just gifted athletes but gifted academics. “Right from the recruiting process, coaches are making sure that prospects are meeting the GPAs and test scores,” said Kimball. “Which sometimes can mean that we lose an athlete to another university that doesn’t hold the same standards.”
Making sure athletes meet the school’s academic standards means that coaches do not have to worry about their athletes becoming academically ineligible. There are 24 teams and 623 athletes that make up Mercyhurst Athletics, with 17 of those teams competing in the PSAC. The number of athletes has been steadily increasing with each year, and the same increase has been seen for the overall athletics GPA. In terms of the future, Kimball sees the school continuing in the same direction of increasing success.