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Posted on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

Eastern Michigan athletes set academic records and more notes

By Matt Durr

The Eastern Michigan athletic department is setting records in the classroom.

According to reports from the school’s student-athlete support services department, this year’s group of athletes set a university record for both cumulative GPA (3.162) and semester GPA (3.147) in the fall semester of 2011.

That includes an all-time high 2.712 semester GPA for the football team. The previous best for that squad was 2.559 in winter of 2009. Forty-three of the 101 players in the program received a 3.0 or better.

"This latest academic report is truly outstanding," EMU athletics director Derrick Gragg said in a statement. "Our student-athletes continue to improve on their classroom performance every semester and we are proud of that effort as well as the success they continue to generate in intercollegiate competition."

Fifteen of the school’s 19 varsity programs had a cumulative fall GPA of 3.0 or better, led by the women’s soccer team at 3.661. The golf team led all men's teams with a 3.294 GPA. There were 20 athletes that posted 4.0 GPAs and 323 (64.7 percent) had a 3.0 or better.

Erin Burdis, the school’s assistant athletic director for academics, pointed out that just 3 percent of the 2,631 courses enrolled in by student-athletes were failed or dropped.

"Obviously, our staff and student-athletes take pride in academic success and this latest report proves that the hard work is worth the effort,” she said.

Michigan gymnastics faces top competition for second straight week

A week after defeating No. 1-ranked Penn State, the Michigan men’s gymnastics team will face the top two teams in the country — Oklahoma and Illinois — at a dual meet at Illinois.

"It's great beating Penn State at home without our top all-arounder in Sam Mikulak. I put the challenge into the head of our team early in the week, asking the team can we beat Penn State at home without Sam,” said head coach Kurt Golder after the meet. “We've never lost to Penn State in our house, and this meet was a tall order for us being a very young team, and they stepped up big time tonight."

Mikulak was not at the meet because he was training with the United States National Team in Colorado last week. The reigning 2011 NCAA all-around champion will be back with his team for this weekend’s dual meet.

Michigan has a chance at beating the No. 1-ranked team in back-to-back weeks for the first time in program history.

Michigan softball ranked in two preseason polls

Coming off its fourth consecutive Big Ten title, the Michigan softball team will enter the 2012 season ranked No. 15 in the USA Today poll and No. 16 in the ESPN poll.

The team returns 15 players, including All-Americans Bree Evans, Ashley Lane and Amanda Chidester. The Wolverines open the season at the LSU Tiger Classic on Feb. 10-12 with four games. The season schedule is highlighted by games against defending national champion Arizona State and Oklahoma as part of the Judi Garman Classic in March.

Upcoming home schedule:


U-M women’s basketball - 7 p.m. vs. Penn State at Crisler Center


EMU women’s swimming - 5 p.m. vs. Miami at Jones Natatorium

U-M women’s gymnastics - 6 p.m. vs. Illinois at Crisler Center

U-M women’s swimming - 6 p.m. vs. Michigan State at Canham Natatorium

EMU women’s gymnastics - 7 p.m. vs. Central Michigan and Texas Woman’s University at Warner Gymnasium


U-M women’s tennis - 10 a.m. vs. Maryland at Varsity Tennis Center

EMU women’s basketball - 2 p.m. vs. Akron at Convocation Center

EMU men’s basketball - 6 p.m. vs. Bowling Green at Convocation Center


U-M wrestling - 2 p.m. vs. Michigan State at Cliff Keen Arena


U-M men’s basketball - 6:30 p.m. vs. Indiana at Crisler Center