Joplin, Mo. — Another year is in the books for the more than 450 Missouri Southern student-athletes and for the fourth-straight semester, the Lions have seen an increase in the department GPA.

For the third-straight semester, the MSSU student-athletes posted a cumulative 3.00 GPA or higher, moving the department’s overall GPA from 3.08 this time last year to 3.16 this year. The GPA was 3.12 after the fall semester.

A total of 192 student-athletes carried at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of this academic year with 99 of those maintaining a 3.5 GPA or higher. Twenty-one student-athletes have a perfect 4.00 GPA and were part of the MIAA Academic Excellence Award that was announced throughout this year. The department also saw 86 student-athletes earn a degree in their respective field this year which is the ultimate goal of any athletic department and University as well.

The department had 12 of its 16 sports and activities it sponsors report a 3.00 team GPA or higher, with the remaining sports at 2.85 or higher. The volleyball team had the highest team GPA at 3.61, while the men’s golf program had the highest GPA for men’s programs at 3.24.

The Lions not only did it in the classroom this year, but also on the field. Southern had 73 All-MIAA selections and 39 All-Region performances. Twenty-two Lions were named All-Americans with five earning Academic All-American honors (track and field is still to come).

The department had the MIAA Coach of the Year in men’s cross country, as well as baseball, while also putting forward the Regional Cross Country Athlete and Coach of the Year, and repeating that honor in the outdoor track and field season with the Regional Assistant Coach and Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. The women’s track and field team finished sixth at the Outdoor NCAA Championships, while also bringing home the individual National Championship in the javelin.

The Lions’ men’s track and field and cross country program was 8th in the final United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Program of the Year standings, while the MSSU baseball team had the MIAA Pitcher and Freshman of the Year. The men’s basketball program made an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.

“As you can see from the number of student-athletes above a 3.0, as well as the number that have a 4.0 GPA, it is proof positive that our student-athletes not only excel on the athletic field but also in the classroom,” said Director of Athletics Jared Bruggeman. “This is a tribute to the dedication of our coaches, academic services, MSSU faculty, and support personnel for the University. We are extremely proud of our overall department GPA of 3.16, as it shows our commitment to our goal of graduating student-athletes with a quality collegiate and NCAA championship experience.”