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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Education No. 1 goal for team

Although the Hoosiers season ended in late November, the team has kept their focus on academics, repeating the success of the fall semester.

Eighty-three members of the football team earned a 3.0 grade point average during the 2009-2010 academic year. Forty-two athletes earned the distinction in the fall and 41 athletes in the spring. 

These numbers represent more of the norm for the Hoosiers, with education being a staple of Coach Bill Lynch’s tenure.

“Receiving a degree is the No. 1 priority, and not only do we want them to receive a degree, but we also want them to receive the best education that they can,” Lynch said. “There are times where I probably talk more about education than I do about football.” 

Senior linebacker Jamie Lukaszewski echoed Lynch’s sentiment. 

“Education is our No. 1 priority on the football team,” Lukaszewski said. “I remember from day one, coaches stressed that education is first and football comes second.”
In addition to the 41 Hoosiers who were honored for their academic success, Lynch acknowledges that many other players have made strides despite not reaching the 3.0 mark. 

“I’m proud of the guys and what they’ve done, but I also saw a lot of improvements with kids who may not have reached the 3.0 level but who made great improvements over the previous semester,” Lynch said. “Each student has a different learning potential, and it’s our job to ensure that each player reaches his academic potential.” 

Lynch also mentioned the support of Athletics Director Fred Glass and the academic help the team receives during the year as vital parts of the Hoosiers’ success.

Additionally, outside the locker room is a prominent sign stating the goals for the Hoosiers every year. They include “Earning a Degree from Indiana University” and “Win the Big Ten Championship,” with the former taking top billing, all of which has added to an environment where the players are expected to achieve excellence in the classroom. 

Senior linebacker Leon Beckum, a 2008 and 2009 Academic All-Big Ten honoree, said the players’ schoolwork is a point of camaraderie for the team. 

“Our players have an expectation when it comes to school to put in the time to go to class and do the work with no excuses,” Beckum said. “To be a good team, individuals on that team must do the right thing all the time.” 

In addition to the team goals, there is a list of players who have achieved academic success on the wall outside of the team room, standing as a daily reminder to the players as to what is expected of them. 

It also serves as a benchmark for players who might not have reached that standard yet.
 
“I’ve heard on several occasions where kids have said, ‘Coach, I’m going to get my name on that board,’” Lynch said. “So, obviously it’s a source of motivation and one that we try to recognize for those that do have success.” 

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