Around the Program: Academics

In a series, we will focus on other aspects of the football program besides the players and the coaches. The first part of the series focuses on academics.

August not only marks the beginning of another football season for the Miami Hurricanes, it is also the beginning of a new school year.

The University of Miami athletic program not only strives for achievements in sport, it also wants to make college a learning experience in the classroom.

"Our academic services program benefits all student athletes whether they have academic needs or not," Director of Academic Services David Wyman said. "We are here to advise and help them through school so they can ultimately graduate. We want to make sure they do something after football. We want these athletes to be prepared to do whatever they want to do when football is over. We try to balance their lives athletically as well as in the classroom."

Miami diligently makes sure that the student athletes are getting there class work finished. The Academic Services Department contacts the faculty three times a semester through memos. They also ask for reports from the teachers which are then given to the coaches and added to a database.

"We have a classroom monitor system where people check classes," Wyman said "We have a policy here at UM where if you miss a class four times, you are suspended from competition."

To ensure that universities are emphasizing academics to their athletes, the NCAA has recently instituted an Academic Progress Rate (APR). The APR looks at if the students are staying in school, are they eligible while they are in school and are they graduating.

This evaluation is done each semester by a system that gives a point for an athlete if they are eligible after the term and another point if the stay in school after the term. Points are also awarded for graduation. A student can receive a total of two points per semester and four points for the year.

Out of all the BCS schools Miami's score was the 19th highest with a score of 946 out of 1000. The minimum score allowed is a 925. If a student goes 0-for-2 for the semester and that sport scored lower than a 925, that team will lose one scholarship for the next season.

"I was proud of our football performance, they did a great job," Wyman said. "At the University of Miami we did a fine job, but I think we can do a better job."

If a team does not meet the NCAA mandate of 925 three straight years, then the team could be prohibited from post-season play.


Within the past three years, the University of Miami has made the admission standards for all students tougher. The mid-range SAT scores for this years freshmen is 1210-1370 and the average weighted GPA is a 4.1.

Miami's Athletic program uses the old sliding scale for admissions that requires a minimum of an 820 SAT and a 2.5 GPA. The NCAA has a new sliding scale that requires a minimum SAT score of 400 and a 3.5 GPA.

"I doubt you would get admitted to the University of Miami with a 3.5 GPA and 400 SAT score," Wyman said.


The University of Miami offers many academic programs to ensure that freshmen have a smooth transition from high school to college. The Freshmen Academic Success Training program (FAST) provides a structured study hall program in which the athletes are paired with a learning specialist in a specific subject.

Freshmen that do not participate in the FAST program are required to attend study hall for 10 hours a week. All athletes below a 2.3 GPA are also required by the university to attend study hall. For most of the football team study hall begins after practice at around 6:30.

"We want to see freshmen get it done and in action," Wyman said. "It gives them a good structured time to study and finish their work."

Freshmen typically take 13 credit hours their first semester at UM. The NCAA requires that a student athlete earn 24 credit hours his freshman year—18 of which must be earned in the fall or spring.

After the freshman year, the athlete must earn at least18 credits every fall and spring in order to graduate. The NCAA requires a student athlete earn 6 credits in a term to be eligible for the next term.

At UM the all the athletes must be at 12 hours each semester.

Miami also offers a Freshman Experience course in which the athletes are exposed to the traditions of UM, receive dinner etiquette training, and taught how to efficiently research in the library.

"We make sure the freshmen are familiar with the campus and what the university expects of them," Wyman said.


With summer school and intersession classes, it is feasible for a player to graduate in 3 ½ years. All scholarship players at UM take classes during the second summer session.

"It is our goal to graduate them as fast as possible," Wyman said. "Once you have graduated and you are still on scholarship, you might as well pursue graduate courses."

For graduate work, the minimum course load the NCAA requires is nine credits. Most athletes at UM take 12 or more. Miami's football team has two athletes that have graduated in three years and are now enrolled in graduate courses—Quadtrine Hill and Mark Gent.

"Quadtrine is in a program (communications) where he has to keep a 3.0 to stay eligible, so he has done that and more," Wyman said.

If a graduated athlete does not want to pursue graduate school, than he may work toward a second bachelor's degree. The required course load for a second bachelors is 6 credits per term.

"The NCAA says, ‘you know what you got your degree, now we want to make sure you use your time effectively and not waste the universities dollars,'" Wyman said.

Cornerback Kelly Jennings, a former academic All-American, is currently pursuing another bachelor's degree in the business school.

"I think Kelly is an ambassador for our program," Wyman said. "He does all the right things. He is a leader in our student athlete advisory committee. He was one where after his freshman year he did really well, but when he saw himself slipping a little bit he came back to study hall just to improve his grades because he needed that structure to make sure he got his work done."

The University of Miami knows the most important tool an athlete cant take from a University is a degree. UM ensures that each athlete do his best in the classroom and receive a quality education in a timely manner.


· Miami currently has 11 graduates on the team and had a team GPA of 2.5 last spring.

· Wyman lists Anthony Wollschlager, Eric Winston, Mark Gent, Khalil Jones, Jon Peattie, Thomas Carroll, Tanard Davis, Roger McIntosh, Marcus Maxey, Buck Ortega, Rashad Butler, and Tony Tella as also doing an outstanding job in the classroom.

· Stanford received the highest APR our of the BCS schools with a 994 out of 1000. Florida State scored a 948 and the University of Florida scored a 942. Ohio State scored an 864, well below the NCAA mandate of 925.

David Lake is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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