As a former track athlete Adrienne Ridgeway is well-acquainted with the heavy demands shouldered by student-athletes. The associate athletic director of academic support and student programs works with Marquette’s athletes, particularly the men’s basketball team, to help them succeed academically.
What is your role?
To counterbalance educational disadvantages students face as a result of participating in intercollegiate athletics and to provide counseling, advising and support services to foster their success.
What students use the academic support center?
Freshmen are required to complete eight to 10 study hours in the academic support center. They can progress out of required study hall by earning a 3.0 GPA the first semester. Continuing student-athletes must maintain a 2.5 cumulative average to not be required to attend study hall.
Is this service important to parents and recruits?
Our staff is often part of the recruiting process. Students want to know that in the process of practicing, competing and doing everything that is asked of them, they also will be supported academically. Parents often ask about tutoring services and how we support students during travel. They want to know that their son or daughter has an opportunity to be academically successful while competing athletically.
What is the single most important skill for student-athletes to master?
The time management it takes to be academically and athletically successful.
What’s a big lifestyle adjustment for new student-athletes?
Adjusting to the physical demands of college sports. The fatigue and jam-packed nature of their day surprises most new college athletes. Waking up at 5:30 a.m. for strength and conditioning, then attending classes, meeting with the trainer, practices and study hall — it’s all taxing. We teach them how necessary sleep is to excellence.
What is the toughest part of your job?
Seeing a student’s athletic career end due to injury is heartbreaking. Watching a student work hard on an academic task and not get the grade expected — that’s tough. As a professional it is tough to operate on the schedule of student-athletes. The job has a lot of late nights and early mornings and somewhat mirrors that of a student-athlete — minus the workouts.
How do you oversee NCAA student affairs programming?
We provide opportunities for student-athletes to develop outside of competition. Freshman programming is designed to bridge the gap between high school and college. Continuing student programming broadens to encompass leadership and service opportunities and much more.
How is Marquette’s program viewed?
Our program was recognized nationally by CNN a few years ago for its success. Many Marquette teams are recognized by the NCAA for outstanding scholastic scores, and we have been recognized for solid men’s basketball graduation rates. More than half of our student-athletes were selected to the 2014–15 Big East All-Academic teams.