The announcement of the Team Academic All-Great Lakes Valley Conference accolades marked the beginning of the GLVC’s academic awards. According to UIndy Athletics the 2021–2022 school year saw 173 teams acknowledged for accumulating a grade point average (GPA) 3.30 or greater, with the University of Indianapolis coming second in the conference having 15 teams reaching the list. UIndy had 403 recipients this year, surpassing 400 for the third consecutive year.
Andrea Walker is entering her fourth year working at the University of Indianapolis as a representative of the UIndy Athletics Department and as the associate Athletics Department for athletics. According to Walker, she works towards helping students with academics, National Collegiate Athletic Association guidelines, and more.
“[I] directly oversee student-athlete academic progress, provide academic and mental health resources, NCAA compliance and eligibility, and work as a liaison between faculty and athletics,” Walker said. “[I] also oversee the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) on campus.”
Whether it is football, soccer or tennis, Walker handles all 21 athletic teams at UIndy. Walker also oversees the entire athletic department at UIndy, she said. When handling so many athletes, stress might arise, Walker had many ways she dealt with it.
“[Having good] time management all around… [Creating] to-do list each day… I have a lot of things I need to talk about and do throughout the course of my day,” Walker said.
According to Walker, she would work both in groups and individually with the athletes.
“I do my best to present content that will be valuable to all the individuals present for that,” Walker said. “Sometimes it is difficult in a large group to give everyone the attention they need in that moment, so I also make sure to set aside time after meeting with a large group for individuals to have time with me.”
With Walker’s contributions to the academic athletic department, dozens of her student-athletes were honored as 2021-2022 GLVC All-Academic awardees. If athletes are having difficulty or troubles staying on top of their academics, Walker would sit down with them and figure out the best way to address their problems, she said.
“I would definitely meet with the student-athletes as soon as possible and have a conversation about prioritizing their academics and identifying appropriate resources,” Walker said. “I would also have a conversation with their coaches and share the academic success plan so they can help hold the student-athlete accountable.”
Walker said she provides her student-athletes with assistance in identifying resources for further information and support, as well as exploring their academic interests. During an athlete’s time as a collegiate athlete, playing a competitive sport could take too much priority, Walker said.
“A student-athlete prioritizes their athletic performance over their academic performance and that situation requires those hard conversations… and helping the student-athlete remember that their performance in the classroom is what actually provides the opportunity for them to participate in their sport,” Walker said.
Walker mentioned some ways that our athletic department can achieve this goal again.
“[Ensuring] that student-athletes have ample and effective academic resources available,” Walker said. “And they are fully supported by their respective athletic programs to ensure academic success.”
UIndy Softball Head Coach Melissa Frost said her players are diligent in academics. Additionally, the players are always getting homework done when possible, Frost said.
“We preach looking ahead and trying to get as many things done before we get on the road as possible…,” Frost said. “I feel like we don’t have to do a lot of monitoring, which is really great, especially when on the road… [they are] very disciplined in their studies and want to excel.”
While balancing being a student-athlete and being committed to a team, Frost said their team is provided with study hall options.
“[We have] mandatory study hall for all freshmen, four days a week, two hours at a time, anyone that did not meet the grade point average requirements for our program that we would want them to achieve,” Frost said. “They’ll also be in study hall, and that is kind of like a sliding scale system that we use.”
Frost’s team had 23 of them named to the GLVC All-Academic Selections, with an average team GPA of 3.67, according to UIndy Athletics.
“I just think that many student-athletes, as we have had as a department… speak volumes about the amount of time that our coaches make sure these young men and women have the opportunity to excel in the classroom and on the field,” Frost said. “I think that the coaches that we have in this department are really leaders that pave the way for them to be successful in both academically and athletically and they are given the tools to do so at UIndy for both.”