Making student athletes through higher education - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Making student athletes through higher education

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TYLER (KYTX) - A report from CNN shows a number of college athletes are not ready for college.

In fact, it shows many read on an elementary school level.

That information isn't coming from the NCAA or any governing agency over any of the junior colleges in the country.

But the athletic director at TJC says they've seen the highest overall GPA from student athletes in over 15 years.

Before students at TJC can take a shot, they have to put in work off the court.

"We have to get 4 hours a week by ourselves in the lab. And we do study hall probably 3 times out of the week for about 2 hours," says Amber Driver, a freshman basketball player.

She says in addition to working drills and plays, she has study hall 6 hours a week, 4 hours in a study lab, and classes.

But it paid off.

"3.6 so excited," says Driver.

"We've got a smaller campus, smaller student to teacher ratio and all that fun stuff and I think you get a more hands on approach over here," says TJC athletic director Tim Drain.

Drain says the atmosphere helps students, and the interaction on all levels.

But a startling trend was found in division one colleges by CNN.

An analysis shows many highly recruited football and basketball stars can't read above a 5th grade level.

And even 7-18 percent read poorly.

Some colleges question how that student got to a higher level in the first place.

That goes directly back to the classroom, and what students are taught in grades prior.

"Athletics always ends, whether it ends when you're through in high school, or it ends in college, even if you go to the pros for a few years. It's going to end, so what are you going to do then?" asks Brook Hill athletic director Wally Dawkins.

Dawkins says it's about the balance between playbooks, and textbooks.

Sometimes it means making hard decisions.

"Instead of going and playing in the first round of the tournament, we stayed here and I think it was final review. And we actually forfeited the first two games," says Dawkins.

Putting the emphasis on the classroom, and the student.

"You have to have the mindset of, 'I can do this.' That's how I came to TJC. I was dedicated and ready to do it," says Driver.

In talking with other schools here in East Texas, we've found some of the same things. Even at UT Tyler they don't give out athletic scholarships, they have to use their brain and get an academic scholarship instead.

UT Tyler says its student athletes consistently outperform the general student body.

And being a division three school, students are all admitted under the same standards.

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