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Norfolk State University Men’s Track and Field Team

In 2013-14, the Norfolk State University men’s track and field team was banned for the postseason. The school was awarded an AASP grant, and the academic enhancements made as part of the grant were instrumental in shifting the culture of the school — including that of the track and field team — and retaining the student-athletes throughout the ban. The student-athletes banded together to ensure that their academic efforts matched their athletic efforts to maintain a high standard in both areas.

About the Team

Head coach: Kenneth Giles
Athletics department mantra: “Academically strong, athletically superior.”
Accolades: Team graduated five student-athletes in spring 2016. Team GPA: 2.96 in 2015; 3.0 in fall 2016.

“After being placed on postseason ban as the result of low APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores, the members of the men’s track team met and decided not to leave the program, but to stay and correct the problem,” Athletics Director Marty Miller said. “This was significant because this team had won numerous championships, and many of them were being encouraged to transfer. Due to the grant, several initiatives were implemented that created an environment of academic success for them, as well as the entire athletics department.”

Once the ban was over and the team resumed competition, new equipment allowed student-athletes to work diligently on the road. According to one of the track and field athletes, “Our school provided us everything we needed to be productive and study on the road,” including computers, laptops, tablets, software and Wi-Fi hot spots.

Student-athlete and Student Government Association President Desmond Fogg said of the postseason ban, “It intensified our focus on academics, and we really had to have a major paradigm shift as far as where our competitive attributes were going. And it was shifted to exactly that — academics. I believe that it was a blessing in disguise.”

Miller added, “The AASP grant was instrumental in improving the overall academic performance of the student-athletes at Norfolk State University. I do not believe that the teams would have achieved their current APR scores if the school had not been awarded the grant by the NCAA.”

AASP Homepage

The NCAA provides support for schools as they work to meet the NCAA’s academic standards via the Accelerating Academic Success Program, which assists Division I schools as they develop programs and systems designed to increase graduation rates and ensure academic success.

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