June 11, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — Eleven sports with perfect APR scores and an academic year that produced the most student-athletes with at least a 3.0 grade point average in school history has Auburn sitting pretty in the classroom this week.
What to do with the good news?
Smart athletes such as running back Chandler Shakespeare have been checking out the new Auburn Tiger Career Development Center where they can see where their good work may take them. The project, a satellite of the university's career development center, has attracted 334 student-athletes visits in the first year of the program, up from 37 visits the previous year at the mainstream career development center.
Shakespeare found the athletic-based career center a plus.
"I was pretty much like a baby," Shakespeare said. "But I got a resume, started doing mock interviews, then I started applying for jobs, then I heard back from a job and had my first interview. Once I had my first interview, it became simple, kind of like on the field with practice. The mock interviews we practiced helped me with my first interview."
Ryan Day oversees the program.
"Regardless if you're going pro in your career as an athlete or whether you want to get into the professional word as a work-force ready professional, we have the services and tools that will be highly beneficial," he says.
Defensive back Ryan Smith took note.
"One of most inspiring moments was getting interested in different career options that I was unaware of," Smith said. "
The athletic-focused satellite project is already paying dividends.
"It's one of the things Jay Jacobs wanted to really focus on since he became the AD: 'Let's prepare these kids to do well athletically and academically, and let's prepare them for life,'" said Senior Associate Athletics Director Gary Waters.
This is what the student-athletes, as a whole, can take to the development center:
•Auburn's latest Academic Performance Rate scores, which were released today, shows 11 sports with a perfect score of 1,000, and the 10 other sports ranging from 989 to 896 for the 2011-12 academic year. No sport is subject to penalty or scholarship reductions for the rating that measures eligibility and retention with the program. The recent reporting period shows an uptick academically for Auburn.
Women's soccer had the best four-year APR score, coming in at 995.
The 11 sports with perfect APR scores for 2011-12 were women's basketball, women's swimming and diving, women's tennis, women's cross country, men's tennis, men's indoor track, men's outdoor track and men's cross country.
Of the high-profile sports, football scored a 985. Baseball scored a 974 and men's basketball scored an 896.
•The most recent academic year suggests the next round of APR scores will favor Auburn as well. A record 304 student-athletes had a 3.0 grade point average or higher for 2012-13, numbers that will be reflected in some manner in APR scores next year. Nineteen of those athletes scored a perfect 4.0.
The academic side is gearing the students to life after athletics, and the career development center brings that in focus.
"It's a full-scale development center," Waters said. "They do job-shadowing programs, help determine majors, they use tools to help them establish a profile and help match that up with career tracks and help they prepare them for internship interviews, full-time interviews and for graduate school."
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