Excelling on and off the athletic field

Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

Student-athletes at Northeastern are excelling on and off the field, said Athletics Director Peter Roby, who delivered his annual report to the Faculty Senate yesterday.

Roby said the average athlete at Northeastern has a GPA of 3.086, with 192 on the Dean’s List and 51 of those “Top Dogs” — students with GPAs above 3.8.

“They have a lot of demands on their time, but they continue to make us proud and compete in the classroom,” Roby said.

He said the faculty share responsibility in the success of student-athletes, who may occasionally miss class time while traveling to out-of-town competitions.

“Your flexibility and consideration of them is something we really appreciate,” Roby said, “and we hope this shows that we are really serious in the classroom and that we appreciate all that you do.”

Four of Northeastern’s teams — men’s indoor track, men’s outdoor track, women’s ice hockey and women’s rowing — posted perfect scores of 1,000 in the NCAA’s most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rate, placing them in the top 10 percent of the 6,422 college teams in the United States. The 17 Northeastern varsity teams subject to APR posted an average score of 988, a rate above the national average of 970.

Roby also touted the “Husky Wish Gift” program, an athlete-run initiative that benefits organizations like the Huntington Avenue YMCA and 12 public schools in Boston, with the student-athletes providing tutoring and physical activities for Boston youth. The initiative, which promotes healthy living, is funded through money raised by the student-athletes and a share of the money the NCAA provides to each team.

“It’s a great way for them to see what philanthropy looks like and I think they’ll keep that value after they leave college,” Roby said.

Roby also showcased recent upgrades to audio-visual equipment, including HD video capabilities at Matthews Arena, Solomon Court and Barletta Natatorium. The state-of-the-art media initiative also employs some 75 students, who operate cameras, edit videos and provide play-by-play commentary during live games.

“The ESPNs of the world are all looking for content from schools like us to put on places like ESPN3 and YouTube Sports,” Roby said, “and they’re saying that the quality of what we’re producing is good enough to put on TV.”

Northeastern’s athletics programs also have a new fan base: Charlotte, N.C., where the university opened its first regional campus this week.

“I know there are a lot of people in Charlotte who said that they are already looking forward to the Beanpot,” said Provost Stephen Director.