SFCC Student Athletes Graduation Rates Above State Average
Maintaining good grades while spending hours each day on the practice field is no easy feat, but South Florida Community College’s student athletes can be proud of their hard work. Following a recent academic report from the Florida Community College Activities Association (FCSAA), SFCC student athletes rank above the state average for graduation and transfer rates. Their 2010-11 graduation rate was 86 percent, 20 percent higher than the state average, and 80 percent of those went on to transfer to a four-year school. “Our athletes consistently excel in the classroom,” said SFCC Athletic Director Rick Hitt. “We prioritize academics, and I believe that’s why our athletes are so successful.”
Athletes are required to have a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) following their first semester of college to be eligible to compete, but the coaches, as well as the athletes themselves, expect to do much better than just the minimum. “We get different types of students academically,” Hitt said. “We create an academic plan for them and provide tutoring so they can excel academically. The numbers show that our system works.”
“Coming in as a college athlete, I was nervous that I would have a difficult time carrying my course load and my athletic obligations,” said Lady Panther Volleyball player Caitlin Carlander. “But team study hall, individual study hall, grade checks, a caring office of counselors, and an encouraging coach all helped me to reach my potential at South Florida Community College. Without the standards my coaches set for me, I probably would not have been so motivated to succeed.”
During the 2010-11 academic year, SFCC athletics had 30 post-season academic award recipients. Three of these were Academic All-Americans, the highest award student athletes can receive. Students who receive this award must have a GPA of 3.6-4.0. Over the past 12 years, under the guidance of Hitt, SFCC has consecutively had between one and four student athletes awarded as Academic All-Americans. “I am proud of our student athletes,” said Dr. Norm Stephens, president, SFCC. “All of our coaches emphasize the importance of academics, and this is what helps our students achieve their academic goals.”
It’s no surprise, however, that SFCC’s athletes are so successful. They have a heavily involved coach and athletic director to look up to. Not only does Hitt serve as SFCC’s athletic director and Panther Baseball coach, he also serves on a variety of state and national college athletics and baseball committees. He has been a member of the FCSAA State Baseball Committee, the FCSAA Hearing Committee, as well as the FCSAA Council for Athletic Affairs since 2001 and is currently its chair elect. He is the former chair of Southern Conference Baseball and currently serves as the Suncoast Conference Baseball chair. He is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Baseball Committee and, currently, serves as vice president of the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association and the NJCAA International Baseball chair, a position that took him to Holland with the NJCAA/USA baseball team in the summer of 2010.
“We couldn’t imagine a better role model for our student athletes than Coach Hitt,” Dr. Stephens said. “We have an outstanding athletic program because of the strong leadership Coach Hitt provides as well as the wonderful job all of our coaches do in recruiting excellent students and student leaders to participate in our inter-collegiate athletics program.”
SFCC Athletic Director Rick Hitt reviews Panther Baseball player Sam Morgan’s class progress report. Morgan credits mandatory study hall with helping him achieve a 4.0 grade point average.