WHEELING - If you are a student-athlete at Wheeling Jesuit, chances are you are going to get a degree.
If you are a member of the women's golf, swimming or volleyball teams, it is a virtual lock that you will earn a degree.
Wheeling Jesuit has the highest graduation rate in the Mountain East Conference according to the NCAA's recent Academic Success Rate (ASR) information.
Photo provided by WHEELING JESUIT UNIVERSITY
Wheeling Jesuit swimmers Meghan Ebbert, left, Paige Carpenetti, center, and Evan Walker speak at a news conference Tuesday at the Alma Grace McDonough Center. The women’s swim team graduates 100 percent of its roster.
The school's 83-percent ASR is 16 percent higher than the MEC average and 29 percent higher than the NCAA Division II national average.
"This institution is all about nurturing student-athletes minds, body and spirit," said Frank Bauer, WJU's executive director of intercollegiate and varsity athletic operations. "Being No. 1 in the academic success rate for the Mountain East Conference is strong evidence that our students take academics seriously."
Among the highlights of the study are that women's volleyball, golf and soccer had an ASR of 100 percent.
Several coaches and athletes were on hand Tuesday at a press conference at the Alma Grace McDonough Center.
Among those were swim coach Mike Meyers, volleyball coach Christy Benner, women's basketball coach Debbie Buff and men's basketball coach Danny Sancomb.
Athletes were swimming's Paige Carpenetti, Meghan Ebbert and Evan Walker, volleyball's Gabby Guanciale, and basketball players Emily Robinson and Justin Fritts.
All the athletes stressed the fact that professors have gone the extra mile to make sure the students academic needs are met in tune with their athletic priorities in their respective fields of play.
"I can't remember one time when my coach referred to me as an athlete," Guanciale, a senior who will graduate with honors, said. "It's always student-athlete."
The coaches talked about working hard to stress both performance on the field and in the classroom.
"Our coaches and professors are here to make a difference in the lives of these students," Bauer said. "It will continue to be our mission at the university to challenge students to perform their best on the fields and in the classrooms. We want to see them get their diplomas from Father Fleming on graduation day."
Sancomb had an interesting nugget about the men's basketball team.
"In the last seven years, all of our players who have stayed for four years earned their degree on time," the Cardinals coach said. "They didn't have to come back for an extra year, or an extra semester. That is something of which we are very proud."
Bauer said it all goes back to the two scoreboards he likes to stress, the scoreboard on the court and the scoreboard of life.
"Our ASR is indicative of our belief in that second scoreboard," Bauer said.
It was a good entrance into the newly formed Mountain East.
"I'm proud to say that our students have the highest graduation rate in our new conference," Bauer said. "These students work hard every day, and seeing our graduation rate in the 80th percentile means our students can balance the rigors of academic programs and demanding athletic schedules and come out on top."