The University of New Mexico saw members of its sports programs put the "student" in student-athlete, as they posted another high grade point average following the recent spring semester.
And with the university mulling over the possibility of eliminating some sports to address financial and Title IX compliance issues, there has likely been a higher premium placed on performing well in the classroom — as it will be one of several criteria considered as part of the evaluation process.
Several of the sports programs were likely thrilled to see the marks set by its students as the collection of teams earned a 3.19 cumulative GPA — denoting the 20th straight semester with at least a 3.0, a release said.
Beach volleyball led the way among all university sports with a 4.0 GPA, while the golf team set the pace on the men's side with a team GPA of 3.89.
While achieving academic success may not be the only consideration when each sports gets looked at later in the summer, those particular teams showed its worth to the university by helping set the standard in the classroom.
Men's tennis (3.55), skiing (3.29), soccer (3.10) and track and field (3.08), which have also been listed as potential sports to be cut according to multiple sources, also registered high marks and may have made the idea of UNM doing without it that much more difficult.
Overall, male student-athletes achieved a 2.98 GPA, while the females hit a mark of 3.48. In fact, the women earned at least a 3.0 in all but one sport and half of the teams surpassed the 3.5 point.
Men's basketball and football seem to be less likely targets of a reduction in sports, partly because eliminating either could affect the University of New Mexico's status as a member of the Mountain West conference.
But those two programs were nestled in the bottom two slots in terms of performance in the classroom Baseball joined them as the other only men's sport not to reach the 3.0 plateau — though it notched a 2.97 en route to its 14th consecutive semester with a 2.9 or better.
And although football was second-to-last on the academic performance list, its 2.85 GPA was actually the second-best in its history and 13th straight semester with at least a 2.5 — which is tied for the longest such streak for the team.
But the weakest performance came from the men's basketball team, which registered just a 2.24 GPA this past semester. That number may come as a surprise to many, considering the UNM men's basketball set a program record just last season.
The team posted a 3.05 GPA over the two semesters that encompassed the 2016-17 campaign, earning the Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches along the way.
According to UNM, the Lobos were the first Mountain West school to win the award and were the only two-time recipient, having received the honor in each of the two previous seasons.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) laws protect student records from being released to the public, so it will remain inconclusive whether the plunge in grade point average was a team wide issue or confined to one or two basketball players.
But despite whether or not there were mitigating factors that contributed to the plummeting GPA, there will likely be a big push to see the team respond to the setback.
Shortly after taking over duties as the head basketball coach at UNM, Paul Weir said the academic honors the previous players had earned were something to be proud of. He said at the time that he would be proud of his players so long as they strived to be the best they could be — on and off the court.
One of the many strengths of a coach is his or her ability to make adjustments to put the team in the best position to succeed. He has seemed to be one that focuses intently on the details and it should be interesting to see what adjustments Weir plans to make moving forward to get results.
Robert Maler is the sport’s editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball and football and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.