Its academic OSU tops Big Ten in scholarly athletes for winter quarter

Ohio State boasts 65 athletes on the Winter Academic All-Big Ten team.Leading the charge are 27 members of the men’s swimming and diving team.Led by coach Bill Wadley, the team had the highest number of athletes from a single sport to make the Academic Team in the Big Ten.Individual honors go to Andrew Elliott, who received the inaugural Elite 88 Award, given out at each NCAA swimming meet to the athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average.Elliott, a sophomore studying finance, was the first ever to receive the award.Team members know what is expected of them in the classroom long before they hit the water. Wadley recruits athletes with academics in mind.“Academics are number one,” Wadley said. “Swimming is their fun while they’re here and it’s important that they spend their energy wisely.”The first matter addressed at the start of every quarter is setting academic goals.The men’s swimming and diving team set a goal in the winter to earn a 3.40 GPA.“The first thing we do is an honest evaluation of ourselves, to discuss what we did well and what we have to do better,” Wadley said.The team fell just short of its goal, earning a 3.20 GPA.“In our mind we want to do better,” Wadley said. “Even though we lead the Big Ten academically, we are always striving to be better because we are never satisfied with where we are.”The sole Buckeye to earn a 4.0 GPA didn’t come from the men’s swimming and diving team. It came as a shock to Buckeye center Kyle Madsen of the men’s basketball team that he was the only athlete with a perfect GPA.Madsen graduated in Spring 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing. He returned to Ohio State to complete his master’s in sports management and to continue his career with the men’s basketball team.Although Madsen couldn’t remember the classes he took last quarter, he took 12 credit hours and managed a perfect GPA during the Buckeyes’ rigorous basketball season.Madsen said juggling his coursework and basketball schedule comes easy to him now.“I’m used to it at this point because I’ve been doing it for so long,” Madsen said.Seven Buckeye teams contributed to Ohio State’s league-high success.The women’s swimming and diving team honored 16 athletes; wrestling earned seven, men’s gymnastics took home five spots, women’s basketball earned four and men’s basketball and women’s gymnastics each earned three spots.Of 539 total athletes in the Big Ten on the Winter Academic All-Big Ten team, Ohio State had the most athletes.“Ohio State has topped the Big Ten for the past five consecutive years with the total number of Academic All-Big Ten selections for the entire academic year,” Senior Athletic Director Miechelle Willis said.Last year, the university recognized more than 400 scholar-athletes. This year it will honor more than 500.Athletes must be at least sophomore students, letterwinners and maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher to qualify.

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