Yes, we ARE here to “Play School”

By: Collin Frazier
Twitter: @Collin_53
Oilers athletics is producing top academics in NCAA DII on a national scale. Out of 315 DII schools nationally the Division II Athletic Directors Association (DII ADA) found that the University of Findlay lead the way with 211 student athletes holding a GPA of 3.5 or higher throughout the 2018-2019 school year.
Redshirt sophomore, Brady Wildermuth, plays basketball for the Oilers and says the atmosphere in the basketball program definitely supports the players’ academics. Coach Charlie Ernst stresses to his team that academics are very important.
“He [Ernst] tells every recruit that ‘the most important thing is getting your degree’,” said Wildermuth. “If you don’t get your degree, he feels like he failed.”
In fact, Wildermuth says the team has an academic coach that helps stay on top of the players’ grades and provides guidance. Wildermuth attributes his academic coach with helping him find out what he wanted to be.
“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into freshmen year…My academic coach really led me on to finding out what I was passionate about,” said Wildermuth.
Walking into an athletic culture with such a high academic standard may be daunting to new students such as transfer athletes. Wildermuth says there are three on the basketball team. Junior Communication major, Alana Sundermann, says she is one of two transfers on the volleyball team.
“I take my academics really seriously and it’s important to me,” said Sundermann. “Seeing that [the high academic standard] makes me feel excited and happy that I get to be a part of this.”
There are 20 varsity sports at UF including 505 athletes, meaning 41.7% percent of the student athlete population is making the grade. The next closest school was University of Indianapolis, which had 29 percent less academic scholar athletes than UF.
In a news release, UF Athletic Director, Brandi Laurita, had this to say about the
academic accomplishment:
“It goes without saying, but we are overwhelmingly proud of the academic
success of all of our student-athletes. As many Division II institutions as there are in the
country, to finish at the top, speaks highly of the work our Oilers put in on a daily basis,”
said Laurita.
“Last year was full of many successes on the field, and this is the feather in the cap of what was a tremendous year to be an Oiler. Our student-athletes are dedicated, not only to their sport, but to their academics, and for that we are extremely proud,” Laurita continued.
Wildermuth and Sundermann both say they spend anywhere from two and a half to four hours a day on their sport. Add that to their class schedule plus study time and time management becomes a key issue.
“It’s mandatory for freshmen and sophomores to go to study tables two to three times a week. It’s optional for the juniors and seniors unless our academic coach wants us to go,” said Wildermuth.
Sundermann says the volleyball program doesn’t have an academic coach like the men’s basketball team but the coach emphasizes the importance of always going tonclass, even if it interferes with practice time.
“My coach definitely makes it apparent that you need to be going to class,” said Sundermann. “If people have classes during our scheduled practice, you’re supposed to be at class. If you have class at the end of it [practice], you can leave early to prepare yourself. He’s always stressing that academics come first.”

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