Athletic programs with 3.0+ team GPA
- Men’s Cross Country — 3.739
- Soccer — 3.587
- Volleyball — 3.582
- Women’s Tennis — 3.457
- Women’s Track & Field — 3.324
- Women’s Cross Country — 3.283
- Women’s Golf — 3.281
- Men’s Golf — 3.234
- Women’s Basketball — 3.169
- Men’s Tennis — 3.129
- Softball — 3.000
Get up about 7 a.m. and lift weights for an hour.
Get to class about 8 a.m.; more are scheduled through most of the day. In the late afternoon, head to football practice. When the sweating and running and hitting are done, go home and do your coursework.
Get up the next day and do it again. And again. And again.
Oh yeah, and keep a grade point average good enough to make the Dean’s List.
That’s what Branden Parker has been doing for the past three years as a left guard on the Mocs football team. Despite a constantly packed schedule, he has been an Academic All-Southern Conference All-Star and also landed on the UTC Dean’s List throughout that time. He’s averaged about 16 hours per semester over that time.
“It not really hard as long as you manage your time,” he says. “You’ve got to give up some of the fun activities and dedicate some of the time schoolwork.”
Parker is one of the student-athletes that helped Mocs athletes top a 3.0 GPA for the seventh semester in a row. Averaging the GPAs of all student-athletes, the Mocs scored a 3.056 in the Spring 2017 semester.
“Our coaches and staff do an outstanding job supporting our student-athletes in their academic endeavors,” says Jay Blackman, associate athletics director for communications and marketing. “We have all worked to create a culture that promotes this type of excellence, and we want that to continue to grow.”
One hundred forty-one student-athletes also had GPAs of 3.2 or higher, landing them on the Dean’s List. Thirty-four scored a perfect 4.0, and the soccer team set a new team record with 11 members making a 4.0.
Tips and traits
Megan Woods is one of those 4.0 student-athletes. A rising senior in finance and accounting and a member of the golf team, she usually practices about four hours a day. That includes weekends, although she stresses that players practice then on their own time, not as an official school practice.
And, like Parker, she says getting good grades is a matter of “learning what to do with the time that you have.” It’s also important to make sure the segments of your life don’t overlap and steal time from one another, she adds.
“Practice is just golf and class is just class,” she says.
A junior majoring in worksite health promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance, Parker isn’t completely sure of his post-graduation plans. He’s trying to get accepted in UTC’s Physical Therapy graduate program, but he’s also interested in medical school and a degree in anesthesiology.
Woods says she may try to become a professional golfer but, if that doesn’t work out, she’ll have her bachelor’s degree and probably will go to graduate school. A career in an area of finance or accounting will be the end result in either case, she says.
Both Woods and Parker have been mixing sports with studies since they were in high school — Woods in Texas and Parker in Georgia. With that much time-management practice, they’ve grown accustomed to doing what needs to be done and doing it when it needs to be done.
“I think I just got used to it,” Woods says. “Especially in college, when you get deeper into your major, it definitely gets harder.
Both admit, though, that time gets tight during their sports seasons.
“It’s harder to manage classes with weightlifting and then you’ve got practice, then you have to dedicate the rest of the time to school,” Parker says.
But, as she says with a verbal shrug:
“Most student-athletes don’t complain; they just kind of do it.”