Whoever said college athletes are just dumb jocks? This doesn’t seem to be the case at Fordham, because according to the Atlantic 10’s (A-10) Commissioner’s Honor Roll of the Fall 2010 semester, Fordham ranked third best out of A-10 schools, with 108 student athletes achieving a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Out of a total of 1,296 student athletes recognized for their achievements, La Salle University led all A-10 schools with 124 student athletes. Nevertheless, the Rams were the leading Jesuit school in the A-10, followed by Saint Louis, Xavier and Saint Joseph’s.
Thrilled to receive the recognition again, co-captain of the men’s swimming team Robert Gitman, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’11 believes that this award shows that being in collegiate athletics should not affect your grades. “I am really proud to make A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Rolls for another year,” Gitman said. “With a large time commitment designated to swimming, it was a challenge for me to do well in my classes. This award shows that a student athlete is a student first, and that with a little determination, athletics should not negatively affect your schoolwork.”
In addition, Gitman believes that Fordham gives student athletes the support they need to do well in the classroom. “They [Fordham] make sure that resources such as tutors are readily available. It’s reassuring to know that Fordham understands that a student athlete academic life is more challenging.”
Likewise, Rams soccer player Daniela Chieffo, FCRH ’13, also believes that Fordham’s athletic department gives student athletes a lot of support in the class as well as out of the classroom. “My coaches have expressed interest in our academic standings and support our success in becoming well rounded students, athletes and citizens,” Chieffo said.
In order to maintain this balance of excellence in the classroom as well as with their athletics, it’s all about finding the right kind of student athlete. “It begins with the admissions process. They work very closely with the coaches to indentify students that are going to be capable negotiating the rigor of the Fordham curricula,” said Francis Taylor, academic advisor for student athletes. “They [admissions] indentify young men and women who have not only the athletic skills to participate in the Atlantic 10, but more importantly the academic skills to be successful at Fordham.”
In addition, Fordham is committed to finding successful academic students by finding certain types of athletes that will succeed in the Fordham academic system. Harmonizing the two different worlds of academics and athletics is very challenging for any student athlete, but for Rams tennis player Sarah Tremaine, FCRH ’12, it’s all about finding a “balance” between going to the library and practicing. “Playing a division one sport while trying to maintain a high academic standard is very challenging,” Tremaine said. I think it’s up to the student athletes themselves to create a balance. I have to manage my time very well in order to get my work done. This usually means doing work in the bus to and from matches and a lot of late nights in the library.”
Moreover, Chieffo also believes that it’s up to the athlete find his or her own time to do work. “Ultimately it’s up to the athlete to manage his or her time,” said Chieffo. “For me, having a scheduled athletic schedule actually made it easier for me to get my work done. I knew the hours I wasn’t training or in class were my only hours to get my work done so I used them wisely.”
Out of all sports teams at Fordham, the men’s track and field/cross country led the way, with 19 members of the team being placed on the honor roll. They were followed closely by the women’s track and field/cross country team, with 14 people on the honor roll.
In a statement released by the Atlantic 10 shortly after the honor roll was announced, Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade stated, “The commitment from each of these student athletes in pursuing excellence in the classroom and during competition is a great representation of their institution and the Atlantic 10 Conference.”
With a notable amount of student athletes on the honor roll this year, it goes to show that Fordham provides athletes with a healthy environment to grow physically as well as mentally. “Overall the athletic department supports the athletes’ mental, physical and academic development,” Chieffo said.