Sun Belt Conference academic numbers continue to rise

From the Sun Belt Conference

For the fourth consecutive year Sun Belt Conference student-athletes topped the 1,500 mark of Commissioner's List and Academic Honor Roll award winners. This year the winners totaled 1,659 student-athletes with 797 of them being on the Commissioner's List.

The Commissioner's List is comprised of student-athletes who received a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for the previous academic year. This year's total of 797 was a new all-time high for the Sun Belt Conference, breaking the previous record set for the 2009-10 year of 795. The league also had a total of 862 student-athletes named to the Academic Honor Roll, which is awarded to those maintaining a 3.0-3.49 GPA.

"Over the past four years we have witnessed a rise in overall academic performance by our institutions and the numbers over that time frame prove that," said Sun Belt Conference Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Educational Services Dominick Giambrone.

Western Kentucky topped all 12 SBC institutions with 221 student-athletes on both the Commissioner's List and Academic Honor Roll. North Texas was second with 170, while Middle Tennessee and the Louisiana-Lafayette tied for third with 159 selections each.

Football had the most student-athletes selected total with 237, while women's soccer placed 219 on both lists. 863 student-athletes on the lists were comprised of seniors (463) or juniors (400).

10 of 12 Sun Belt Conference schools are currently graduating their student-athletes at a higher rate than their student body.

Over 90% of Sun Belt Conference teams earned a multiyear Academic Progress Rate (APR) of over 925 as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released its annual APR report in May. In total, 92.4% of Sun Belt Conference teams earned a multiyear APR score over 925. Seven institutions had 100% of their programs score above the 925 mark, those institutions are: UALR, Denver, Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy and Western Kentucky. Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic and FIU all had 94% of their programs score above the 925 mark.

"As a whole, Sun Belt Conference member institutions are hitting the mark for APR," Giambrone added. "Our institutions are committed to monitoring and maintaining their APR scores."