COLUMBUS, Ohio Good grades and the Ohio State women’s soccer team go together rather nicely, kind of like chocolate and peanut butter, strawberries and cream, and hot cocoa in front of a crackling and warm fire in the middle of winter.

Coach Lori Walker’s team completed its fall academic quarter with a 3.22 cumulative grade point average, a figure that represents the highest cumulative GPA for the team in six years. In the process, Ohio State women’s soccer received a National Soccer Coaches Association of America national academic award for the 15th consecutive year.

“We ask our student-athletes to be responsible and I think our team does an excellent job of taking care of the things that will help them succeed on the playing fields and also in the classroom,” Walker said. “And we are most fortunate to have a Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO) that is in place to help our players be the best and most successful students they can be.”

While one Buckeye obtained a perfect 4.0 for the quarter, another 12 Buckeyes had GPAs of 3.5 and a total of 22 players out of 31 on the academic roster or 71 percent had GPAs of at least 3.0.

SASSO is a big part of the team’s success.

Under the direction of Director David Graham, Ohio State’s SASSO has 21 experienced and committed staff members to serve student-athletes.  Located in the new and state-of-the-art Younkin Success Center in the heart of campus, the SASSO team is made up of academic counselors, learning specialists, an academic resources coordinator, assistant academic counselors and assistant learning specialists, plus a math specialist and reading and writing specialists. Some of the services it provides for each of Ohio State’s varsity sports teams include: 

  • Assigning an academic counselor to each team to oversee individualized attention;
  • Assisting on issues of academic eligibility and procedures in compliance with NCAA, Big Ten, and Ohio State University academic standards and policies;
  • Collaborating with academic advisors to provide accurate academic information and planning related to a student’s college progress and degree program;
  • Priority scheduling that allows student-athletes to schedule classes to accommodate their practice and training commitments;
  • Intensive academic skill-building and monitoring of student progress through the learning specialists and mentors; and
  • Study table and tutoring programs to provide student-athletes with a quiet place for studying and computer lab use, as well as access to one-on-one tutoring for many academic subjects.

Last fall 11 members of the soccer team, all who are at least sophomores academically and carry at least a 3.0 grade point average, were named to the Big Ten Conference’s Academic All-Big Ten team. The total number represents the second-most honorees in one year for Ohio State, trailing only 2003 when 12 Buckeyes were academic all-conference selections.

Since the 1994-95 season when the Big Ten started recognizing its all-academic teams, Ohio State has had 62 different women’s soccer players honored a total of 123 times.

Good grades and Ohio State soccer…a synonymous pair for a long time. Way to Go, Bucks!