July 10, 2007
By Amy Lord, Associate Director – Athletic Academic Support
On June 10, 2007, Mark Meleney, Director of the FSU Athletic Academic Support Program, was elected President of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A). He is currently serving as President-elect and will assume the duties of the Presidency in June 2008 at the N4A National Convention in Kansas City. The N4A is a national association of over 800 members, including academic support personnel from colleges and universities across the country.
Meleney is in his 20th year at Florida State University, and has served the past 11 years in the role of Director of Athletic Academic Support. During his tenure as Director, the program has expanded from four full-time academic advisors to six full-time advisors and two learning specialists. In addition, Meleney played an integral role in the design and development of the new academic support office suite in the Moore Athletic Center in University Center “D”.
The Athletic Academic Support Program is a division of the Office of Undergraduate Studies, reporting to Dean Karen Laughlin. The athletic academic advisors serve as the primary academic advisors for all student athletes during the first two years at FSU. In addition, the academic support staff monitors the academic progress and eligibility status of all student athletes and provides student athletes with academic support services such as tutors, mentors, study hall, and study skills development, as well as honors and awards programming.
In the addition to the on-field success of many Seminole athletic teams, the academic accomplishments earned by FSU student athletes during the 2006-2007 academic year are equally impressive. Overall, Florida State boasted 14 ESPN the Magazine District Academic All-Americans and two National Academic All-Americans. The Seminoles named 204 student athletes to the 2007 ACC Honor Roll, which is more than 40 percent of the student athlete population. In 2006-2007, Seminole student athletes earned a total of $37,000 in postgraduate scholarships, bringing the total dollar amount in postgraduate scholarships earned by Seminole student athletes over the past 12 years to over $350,000. In addition, six Seminole student athletes earned the prestigious Arthur Ashe Junior Sports Scholar Award in 2007.
In 2003, the NCAA began collecting data on the Academic Progress Rate (APR) of student athletes. This measure takes into account the eligibility and retention of scholarship student athletes per sport. The NCAA set a benchmark APR of .925 for all institutions. While over 213 NCAA institutions had teams below the required .925 in 2007, all of Florida State’s athletics teams were well above the benchmark. In fact, three of FSU’s athletic teams (Men’s Basketball, Men’s Golf, and Softball) were in the 90th – 100th percentile nationally and were publicly recognized by the NCAA for their efforts.
In addition, in 2005 the NCAA began reporting a new Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for student athletes which is a modified version of the federal graduation rate and allows institutions to count student athletes who transfer to their institutions and graduate, and not count student athletes who transfer out if they were eligible to return. In 2007, FSU reported GSR rates well above the National Average, including Football at 93 percent and six other FSU teams at 100 percent.
The FSU Athletic Academic Support Program has been recognized as one of the top academic support programs nationally. Besides the student athletes themselves, much of the program’s success can be attributed to the leadership of the Director, Mark Meleney, a dedicated group of academic support personnel, and the support of the campus community, athletic administration, and coaches.