by Kelly Rogge
KCKCC’s Athletic Director Tony Tompkins believes that student athletes can be as successful in the classroom as they are on the court. And to recognize that success, the community college is hosting its first Academic Success Night.
“We are raising our standards,” Tompkins said. “We want to create a culture of winning, but also of academic success. I think you can do both.”
KCKCC’s first Academic Success Night starts at 7 p.m. tonight at the KCKCC Fieldhouse, 7250 State Ave. Of the college’s 165 athletes, about 80 have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average during the fall 2014 semester.
Tompkins said since athletics started keeping academic statistics five years ago, this has been the best semester so far for student athletes.
“The idea for the Academic Success Night came after a conversation with Dr. (Jonathan) Long as we were brainstorming ways to recognize these students,” he said. “There is this misconception that student athletes don’t do well in the classroom. We wanted to show that in fact, many excel in the classroom.”
The overall GPA of the student athletes this year is 3.06, up from 2.93 in 2013. The KCKCC Golf Team had the highest overall GPA with 3.32. Average team GPA for each sport includes:
• Golf – 3.32
• Softball – 3.26
• Baseball – 3.23
• Volleyball – 3.05
• Women’s Track – 3.04
• Women’s Basketball – 3.01
• Men’s Track – 2.94
• Women’s Soccer – 2.89
• Men’s Soccer – 2.76
• Men’s Basketball – 2.68
“Now is the perfect time to start recognizing the great work these student athletes are doing,” Tompkins said. “Our plan is to repeat this every year.”
Both the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams are wrapping up a successful regular seasons tonight. Currently, the Lady Blue Devils are 1st in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, first in the region and ranked 4th in the nation. They will play Johnson County Community College, ranked 5th in the nation, at 5 p.m. The Men’s team is ranked first in the region and 3rd in the conference. They will play JCCC at 7 p.m. All of the student athletes will be recognized during half-time of the men’s game.
If both teams win tonight, they will likely have the No. 1 seed in the regional tournament.
“They deserve this,” Tompkins said of the student athletes. “Each of these students represents our college every day. They go to class, many have jobs outside of school, they have practices and go to fundraising events. They do so much, and we definitely need to do something to recognize them for their hard work.”
Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.