Cal Athletics is showing its dedication to academics with a number of former students-turned-pro who are coming back to Berkeley to finish their degree. Don't be afraid if you see Tully Banta-Cain next to you in Physics 7A! (Well, maybe be a little bit scared because he might try to hit you.)
Banta-Cain is not alone as a former student-athlete in the classroom. He, along with dozens of others, is taking advantage of Cal's Degree Completion Program (DCP), a coordinated effort that includes support from the Athletic Study Center, Cal Athletics, the Office of the Registrar, college and major advisors, and, of course, the student-athletes themselves.
"I fully believe from a moral and ethical standpoint that we need to commit ourselves institutionally back to [former student-athletes]," said Derek Van Rheenen, the director of the Athletic Study Center who oversees the Degree Completion Program. "Not in the short run, not just while they're participating in sports, but in the long run. If someone is not ultimately graduating while they're here and eligible, that offer continues to remain throughout their lives. They decide when it's the right time to come back."
We've got a great number of former student-athletes who are now focusing on just the student part, from football (like Jahvid Best, J.J. Arrington, and Devin Bishop), basketball (Sean Lampley), and swimming (Anthony Ervin). More mature and without the commitment of sports, these students are excelling.
"Your time management is better," said Arrington, who led the nation in rushing in 2004 and was a second-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals before a series of knee surgeries ended his playing career. "This is my first time going to school without playing a sport. Part of the reason I signed (with Cal) was for the education. Like the NFL was a dream, to finish school was a big dream, too. I'm going to be the only male in my family to graduate from a four-year college."
The opportunity to play in the NFL is a big pull factor that leads to the postponement of graduation. Because of that, Coach Sonny Dykes is making a concerted effort to welcome past players back not only to school, but to join the Cal Football Family. Under Dykes's leadership, the Cal football team has seen a huge improvement in our Academic Progress Rate (APR), which Avi covered yesterday. Not only does the football team have great APR news, but we also have eight teams that earned a perfect score of 1000: men's tennis, men's water polo, women's basketball, women's golf, women's gymnastics, women's tennis, volleyball, and women's water polo. Congrats to all these hard-working students!
Speaking of academics, let's celebrate the Class of 2014 by taking a look at what life was like when the Class of 1914 graduated.
- Nicole Beck is working hard to become a doctor, a dream she's had since she was an aspiring neurosurgeon in the fifth-grade
- Coach Cuonzo Martin discusses his relationships with Jackie Joyner Kersee and his new Cal players who previously tried to petition for the hiring of another coach, Travis DeCuire
- Speaking of, we may be seeing DeCuire at Haas next season as a visiting Beaver...
- Harper Kamp is picking up all the awards in his German league, including Player of the Year
Men's Water Polo
- Current and former players will be representing Cal as members of Team USA at the FINA Men's Intercontinental Qualification Tournament
- Devon Rodriguez has overcome injuries and setbacks to define perseverance and loyalty
- Support the Bears on Sunday to get this sweet Cal mug:
- We asked you for which player's going to excite you the most in 2014 and ESPN's Pac-12 blog answered: RB Daniel Lasco
- Pacific Takes ranks the WR groups for each school in the conference
- The big news we've all been waiting for: an update on QB Aaron Rodgers's love life! It's been just over three months since our last update (OMG, it's been so long!), but he now seems to be with actress Olivia Munn (#totesadorbs!). She seems to have a thing for Cal men, which means my chances are phenomenal!