The Numbers Game: GPA’s and Student Athletes at KWU

Written by on December 10, 2018

According to recent reports from the KWU Athletics Committee, female athletes are exceeding in the classroom more than their male counterparts. On a national scale, the average GPA for women was a 2.96, while males were at a 2.70. Now this isn’t just a national issue. This is an issue that definitely hits right at home here on campus. In the athletics department there are 20 teams in total, 9 full women teams, 10 total men teams, and 3 mixed (dance, cheer, e-sports.)  All sports included 153 female  athletes, 303 male athletes, and then the three mixed have a total of 40 athletes. The top seven cumulative GPA’s in the spring semester of 2018, were ALL full women sports. Not only that, but they were the only seven teams to be ABOVE a 3.0 GPA. Now you might say, okay… that’s only one semester. But in the fall semester of 2017, women’s teams occupied the top eight of ten highest GPA’s. Let’s expand even further.

This past spring’s semester, there were a total of twenty-four 4.0’s in athletics. Nineteen of those athletes happened to be females. Now this isn’t for just spring athletes, this is for ALL sports. If we go back to the fall semester, there were twenty-seven total 4.0’s. Once again, the women excelled and had a total of nineteen. Now I am most definitely not here to constantly be berating you with numbers, or that female athletes are smarter than males athletes.

Let’s stop looking at the top of the charts, let’s look closer to the bottom of them. Let’s head back to this past spring semester and we can look at how many people were actually under a 2.0 GPA. Reminder, a 2.0 will leave you ineligible for that next semester. A total of 94 people accumulated a 1.99 GPA or less in this semester, and only fifteen of those athletes were females. I think we all can see the pattern here. Female athletes are obviously succeeding more in the class room than males by a mile. The rest of this article is going to consist of multiple people’s thoughts on the issue and see if there is an issue that we need to bring up so male athletes can excel in the classroom and not have it seem that there is a huge problem between genders when it comes to school work. So enough of these numbers and me rambling, let’s go out in the world and get some viewpoints from KWU students.

First, I went straight to my editor-in-chief Kylie Ross to see what she had to say over the issue. Kylie made it pretty apparent that she feels that male athletes just don’t care if enough in the classroom. “I honestly feel that guys come to school with their sport in mind first rather than what they want to study.” Ross then went on to say “I think women look more forward to the future of not playing sports.. guys have a better chance of continuing sports after college more than girls do.”

I then went to talking to graduating Senior Alleigh Weems,and asked why she thought her volleyball team seems to always be at the top of the GPA list. Weems said  she doesn’t feel that women are smarter than men, but feels there is a lot more pressure put on females shoulders. “Though I can’t speak on male teams, we can be put on probation if we earn below a certain GPA. Our coach regular calls us into his office if he sees that we are earning anything less than B’s. ” Weems then went on to tell me what volleyball’s success is for their high GPA. “Freshmen are required to attend study tables for their first semester, two one-hour sessions a week in the library proctored by assistant coaches.”

After talking to females, I felt that it was time to get an answer from a male. I met up with senior Quinton Smith to get his thoughts. Quinton said that “I feel females are just so much more focused on education, because they value it so much more than men do.” He then went on to say “Females mature faster than males, they realize and appreciate the value of education and knowledge before men do… they put impressing their friends aside and focus on getting stuff done in the classroom.”

The final person I decided to talk to was Dr. David Silverman. I wanted to see if he sees this as an issue in the classroom. He said that over time he has definitely seen some indication that women overall, and not just female athletes, seem prone to excel more than men in the classroom. But, Silverman emphasized “I approach all of my classes with no bias… I give every student the same education.. but the females seem to always be at the top of the pack.”

Throughout this piece, I was in no way shape or form trying to say I think women are smarter than men. I am simply putting facts out there saying women seem to be, on paper, more focused on classroom success. Next semester, you can count on the student journalism staff of The Advance to be following up on this topic, examining why women seem to be so much more successful in the classroom than men, what the university has in the works to help all of its student-athletes remain successful on and off the field, and assist those who want to improve their performance academically as well as athletically.

There’s definitely more to this story than meets the eye, and we’d love to hear what YOU think about it. Let us know, and when we come back in the Spring, we’ll get busy continuing our investigations.


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