University of Miami athletes surpass national average graduation rates

UM's soccer team is one of eight sports teams with perfect graduation rates. Photo credit: Josh White

For many students at the University of Miami, a typical week consists of five days of classes and on the weekends, cheering on their favorite team from the stands. For some, however, the distinction between the two isn’t so clear.

Student-athletes make up a fair portion of the student body at UM, yet their daily lives differ greatly from that of the typical student. Nonetheless, many are achieving success not only on the field but in the classroom as well. In October, the National Collegiate Athletic Association posted the Graduation Success Rate, which analyzes the percentage of student-athletes graduating in Division I institutions across the country.

UM scored a 92 percent GSR, four points above the national average of 88 percent and tied for second-best in the school’s history. The survey also ranked UM as having the best overall 2019 GSR among Division I institutions in Florida and tied for 20th nationally among Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

UM’s above-average GSR rate is a result of student-athletes who are dedicated to academic success.

“During the season, I find it pretty hard [to manage academics and athletics]. We practice five days a week plus a game on Saturdays,” said Miami football punter Louis Hedley. “And every away game, we miss class on Fridays, which puts us behind.”

Several student-athletes have found ways to manage their schedules throughout the years, striking a balance between how to achieve both athletic and academic success.

“My first year was harder than it is now,” said volleyball player Priscilla Hernandez. “It takes a lot of maturity not to procrastinate.”

Hernandez also emphasized that one of the most difficult tasks for a student-athlete is neither in the classroom nor the court but in the social setting.

“In reality, our lives are pretty much volleyball and school, so it’s difficult trying to find time for a social life,” said Hernandez.

Acknowledging the struggles student-athletes face, UM provides resources to make sure they stay on track to graduate on time.

“The school provides a lot of help for the student-athletes, which gives us more than enough opportunity to do great things with the academic side of being a student-athlete,” said Hedley. This help consists of services such as scheduling tutoring appointments, enforcing study hall hours every week and checking grades every few weeks.

Despite the busy schedules and the struggles they face, many student-athletes say they are proud to represent the U on and off the field.

“It truly is a privilege to be able to play for the University of Miami,” Hernandez states.

The combined effort of student-athletes and the university’s athletic department significantly contributed to UM’s GSR rating, with several athletic programs earning 100 percent graduation success rates. These sports with perfect graduation are the men and women’s basketball teams, men’s cross country and track and field, golf, men’s diving, soccer and volleyball.