Gopher Teams Honored for Academics
June 11, 2015
The NCAA announced that 13 Golden Gopher programs have been honored with Academic Progress Rates (APR) recognition awards. The awards are given each year to collegiate programs scoring in the top 10 percent in their sport, based on their most recent multi-year APR.
Overall, the University of Minnesota ranked fifth among FBS institutions with the highest percentage of teams earning APR awards and first among public institutions. The Gophers trailed only Stanford (19 teams), Notre Dame (17), and Duke and Northwestern (15).
Baseball, men's cross country, men's gymnastics, men's tennis, men's track (indoor & outdoor), wrestling, women's golf, women's gymnastics, soccer, softball, women's swimming, women's tennis, and volleyball all scored in the top 10 percent in their respective sports.
Minnesota reported eight athletic programs with perfect multiyear Academic Progress Rates in 2013-14, while 19 of 23 teams maintained or improved their multiyear scores.
"This is a tremendous achievement by our student-athletes, coaches, and academic staff," says Director of Athletics Norwood Teague. "To place more than half of our programs in the top 10 percent in the nation is truly something of which we can all be proud."
From certifiable classic to state-of-the-art, the U of M is bursting with iconic sports facilities. We have the venerable Williams Arena (aka “The Barn”)—with its unique raised floor—which has seen a century’s worth of hardcourt history. There’s the world-class University Aquatic Center, which has hosted numerous championship events. And our puck fans light up when they walk into Mariucci and Ridder Arenas, the envy of hockey fans everywhere. Discover more about our athletics facilities.
Good Times at ‘The Bank’
On the east edge of campus, TCF Bank Stadium is one of the newest stadiums in the country. It boasts the largest home locker room in college or professional football (you could run a 60-yard dash inside it) and one of the largest video boards. It’s home to the University of Minnesota Marching Band, and hosts big-name concerts and freshman convocation.
The University of Minnesota sporting scene is rich in traditions, from Homecoming (celebrating its 100th anniversary this year) to homespun chants that get the crowd going.
A Tradition of Excellence
From our seven national championships in football to our 10 combined national titles in women’s and men’s hockey, the University of Minnesota is known for its athletics excellence.
Here’s a snapshot of that greatness. Last year alone, the U of M won eight team conference championships—one of the highest totals in the Big Ten Conference—and also had 12 individual conference champions and an individual NCAA national champion (men’s gymnast Ellis Mannon).
And our student-athletes also excelled in the classroom, earning 295 Academic All-Big Ten honors, 62 Distinguished Scholar-Athlete recognitions, and a host of additional academic awards.
Why are the Gopher colors maroon and gold, you ask? Thank Mrs. Augusta Smith for that. She was an English instructor (with good design sense) who chose those colors for graduation garb in 1880, “which made a favorable impression on the students and faculty,” so the story goes. “Ski-U-Mah” began 130 years ago as a rugby chant, playing off a Sioux battle cry. And legendary radio announcer Halsey Hall coined the nickname “Golden Gophers” in reference to the all-gold attire of the football team in the 1930s. Those years were golden, indeed, as the Gophers won five national championships in football between 1934 and 1941.
Cheerleading was Born Here
One of the most visible traditions in all of sports originated at the University of Minnesota. In the fall of 1898, the football team had lost three straight games and an editorial in the school paper said, “Any plan that would stir up enthusiasm for athletics would be helpful.” Student Johnny Campbell offered to lead organized cheers at the next home game against Northwestern, which Minnesota won 17-6. Much of the credit went to Campbell and his “yell leaders.” At that otherwise ordinary game, the tradition of cheerleading was born.
When it comes to excellence—and toothy grins—nobody beats Goldy Gopher, the beloved U of M mascot. Goldy is both athletic (how many other rodents can stickhandle a puck on ice or crank out 56 pushups after an eighth touchdown?) and entertaining, evidenced by two national mascot champion titles this decade.
You want entertainment? Goldy’s antics will make your head spin … or is it the other way around?
A Snapshot of Gopher Greats
Big Time in the Big Ten
When you talk about big-time power conferences, the Big Ten tops the list. It’s the oldest Division I college athletic conference in the nation, with a lineage of legendary sports powers—Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, to name a few—and more than a century of athletic and academic excellence.
How big is it? The Big Ten launched the first conference-owned television network in 2007, and the Big Ten Network now has more than 50 million subscribers. And the conference is growing. Penn State became the 11th school in 1990, Nebraska the 12th in 2011, and this year the conference welcomes Maryland and Rutgers.
Welcome to the Big Ten, sports fans. It doesn’t get any bigger.
It’s not just about the sports that others play at the University of Minnesota. You can stay fit, healthy, and happy, too. Students have access to stunning Recreation and Wellness Centers. Here you can take group fitness classes, join in intramural sports, go climbing, swimming, or spinning, and find just the right exercise—indoors or out—to fit your needs.
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