Student-athletes at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are staying in school and graduating at statistically higher rates than nonathletes.
According to data compiled this summer, 88 percent of Pointers student-athletes stayed enrolled between their first and second year in 2010 and 2011, compared to a retention rate of 79 percent for nonathletes. The six-year graduation rates were also higher. Comparing students who entered UW-Stevens Point between 2001 and 2005, student-athletes graduated at rate of 71 percent and nonathletes at 59 percent.
UW-Stevens Point women’s basketball in particular has a standout record on and off the court, holding the highest overall retention rate (96 percent) and the highest graduation rate (85 percent) among men’s and women’s sports. According to Head Coach Shirley Egner, the coach with the most wins in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history, this success is due to the recruitment of goal-oriented women, as well as the use of once-a-week study halls and biweekly individual meetings with the coaching staff to talk about subjects outside of basketball.
“We make it a priority to create an environment where our student-athletes succeed,” said Egner. “Our slogan is ‘The Pointer Way.’ That means our students can come to us and we work to give them the resources and contacts they need.”
For player Myranda Tyler of Grafton, the family atmosphere within the basketball team influenced her decision to come to UW-Stevens Point. While she has an academic adviser, she appreciates the additional one-on-one time she has with Assistant Coach Diane Hawkins, who has helped her plan her college career. They also make it a priority to help her with any personal issues, Tyler said.
“It’s nice to know they care about us as people and not just as players,” said Tyler.
Egner said applying these practices to nonathlete students means making sure they feel there is someone on campus to use as a resource for any issue, academic or otherwise. “When you play sports you have a ready-made family with your team,” she said. “So it’s a matter of getting all students to someone who can help them as well.”
“As a university, we are working to replicate the best practices used to promote student-athlete success among the student body at large,” said Chancellor Bernie Patterson. “We look forward to using a similar model to increase the retention and graduation rates of all students.”