Dr. McKinley Boston
Today, we released the latest academic data for over 425 student-athletes at
When I began working on the strategic plan to elevate NM State athletics to a premiere non-BCS athletic program, my very first priority was to fix a deficiency in the value placed on academics by our student-athletes, coaches and administrators. The NCAA had just implemented the Academic Progress Rate (APR) and our teams were performing at an unacceptable level. I quickly realized that academics needed to be at the very top of our eight strategic goals.
Six years into our journey to excellence, I am extremely proud of the results in the classroom. The number of Academic All-WAC selections has grown significantly, the student-athletes average over a 3.0 grade point average, and our APR scores continue to soar.
This change did not happen overnight and it did not happen by accident. Several processes, procedures and programs were put into place to ensure that our student-athletes had the best chance of success in the classroom. But, the dedication of the student-athletes, coaches and administrators is what has made the academic growth possible. Without their complete buy-in, we would be talking about academics being an issue rather than a source of pride.
Better still, this emphasis on academics has not come at the expense of success on the field of play. Last year, NM State finished third in the WAC Commissioner Cup standings, a measure of success across all WAC sports. Our first year in the WAC, we finished dead last in the standings and could manage just eighth in our second. To rise from last to third in just five years is a testament to our coaches and student-athletes who have the drive and determination to be successful.
I want to thank the NM State administration for their support of our efforts to make academics a priority. I want to acknowledge our dedicated staff for their efforts in putting programs in place that gives our student-athletes the best chance to succeed. Most of all, I want to congratulate our student-athletes on their hard work and dedication in making education a key facet of their personal development.
Today we celebrate some incredible accomplishments, but our journey to excellence is not complete. As we reach goals that signify our rightful place as a top mid-major program, we will continue to strive for even greater accomplishments. Together with our university leadership, our wonderful community and the continued dedication of our student-athletes and coaches, the best days for NM State athletics are certainly ahead.