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UK Athletics’ 3.0 GPA Streak Reaches 16 Semesters

Wildcat student-athletes on scholarship posted cumulative GPA of 3.534

LEXINGTON – May 15, 2020

With grades for the 2020 spring semester now finalized, UK Athletics has surpassed its goal of a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average for 16 straight semesters.

Successfully navigating the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the move to exclusively online classes, Wildcat student-athletes combined to achieve a GPA of 3.534.

“The last two months of the spring semester brought an incredible display of resilience and persistence by our student-athletes,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Neither the abrupt end of our athletics season nor the shift to online learning was easy to cope with, but our student-athletes once again showed their character and diligence in responding.”


The 3.534 cumulative GPA – fueled in part by the pass/fail policy enacted campus-wide in response to challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic – is a record for a semester, surpassing the previous record of 3.210 set in spring 2014.

For the first time ever, all UK teams posted team GPAs of higher than 3.0, including 18 above 3.5. Leading the way were men’s golf (3.891), women’s swimming and diving (3.874), gymnastics (3.837), volleyball (3.830), women’s golf (3.820), and softball (3.787).

“Our CATS (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) staff has provided unmatched support for our student-athletes for decades, but this semester was an unprecedented example of agility, problem-solving and resourcefulness,” Barnhart said. “Our counselors, tutors and mentors were remarkable in the way they adjusted in the face of unprecedented challenges.”

UK’s high marks in the spring semester serve as a fitting end to the academic year, with the following milestones reached in 2019-20:

  • UK Athletics set a school record with seven teams – men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, gymnastics, women’s swimming and diving and volleyball – receiving Public Recognition Awards for their Academic Progress Rate scores, the NCAA announced Tuesday.
  • In October, it was announced that UK student-athletes broke one school record and tied another for NCAA Graduation Success Rate and Federal Graduation Rate. UK has broken or tied the GSR school record every year since the NCAA began measuring that statistic in 2005.
  • Including the 2019 winter commencement and last week’s spring graduation, 97 Wildcat student-athletes have earned degrees during the 2019-20 school year.

UK Athletics supports the academic success of its student-athletes through CATS – the first academic center of its kind dedicated solely to serving student-athletes. CATS is an important component of UK’s Student-Athlete Experience division, launched as a renewal of the department’s commitment to prepare student-athletes to enter life after UK.

“This is undoubtedly a tremendous team achievement made possible by the unified efforts of the students, the CATS support staff, the coaches and our valued campus partners,” Executive Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Experience Jason Cummins said. “One of our department’s core values is competitive excellence, and you could see it on display every single day over the last eight weeks of the semester.”

UK has set a goal of a 3.0 department-wide GPA through the Elite 1-3-5 initiative and has reached the mark in every semester since Elite 1-3-5 was unveiled in 2015. UK is also positioned to make strides toward its goal of a top-five Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup finish by the year 2022, as UK was 14th in 2018-19 standings.

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