Kim Johnson – I recently read an article on about the college entrance exam scores of student athletes. It discusses the significantly lower scores of the athletes – especially football and basketball players – as compared to the non-athletes. My favorite quote was from an admissions officer at a Division I school saying there is some “flexibility in admissions of student athletes.”

It really cracks me up because at Wabash, that is not what it’s about. Granted, not all Division I student athletes need “flexibility in admissions.” There are a lot of very intelligent men and women that excel in the classroom as well as on the court, field, track, mats, in the water, etc. but I’ve also met my share of “dumb jocks.”

At Wabash, though, they are all great students – otherwise, they wouldn’t be at Wabash. No “flexibility in admissions” here.

Just yesterday in our staff meeting we were discussing the first semester Dean’s List and the number of student athletes on it. To make the Dean’s List, students must post a semester GPA of at least 3.50.

Take for example wide receiver Kody LeMond. He was awarded All-Conference First Team, All-North Region Second Team, and ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V Second Team honors. He broke multiple Wabash and NCAC records as a receiver last season — catching 73 passes for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. Most importantly, the sophomore mathematics major made the Dean’s List last fall – during football season.

Let’s step inside where junior Chase Haltom drained a three-point basket with one-second left on the clock to beat Allegheny by two — every kid’s dream. While he’s definitely a role model on the court, every mother hopes her son takes after Chase in the classroom too.

Need more convincing… what about Seth Einterz — the first Wabash runner to compete at the NCAA Division III National Cross Country Championship Meet in seven years. He was named First Team All-North Coast Athletic Conference Runner this fall and placed fifth at the NCAC Championships. He’s made the Dean’s List in all three semesters on campus.

There’s Kenny Coggins, the transfer from Princeton, Matt Hudson, Derrick Yoder, Jake German, Craig Morrison, Skip Tokar, Denver Wade, Sean Clerget, Blaine Cooper-Surma and countless other men who have stepped up to the academic challenges of Wabash and balanced athletics at the same time.

The list goes on and on with Jake Thomas, Nick Rockefeller, Andrew Gilman, and wrestler Graham Youngs. There are are three freshman members of the Little Giant basketball team on the Dean’s List: Derek Bailey, Seth Bawel, and Nick Curosh.

What’s the idle time chatter on the field at practice? It’s yesterday’s chemistry assignment and problem solving for next week’s lab. The conversation on the bus? Quizzing for comps. Where do the athletes go for a break during an away-game trip? The bookstore.

And it’s not just the students. The coaches talk books as much as baskets and batting.

Coach Petty begins the season helping the players learn to manage their time in order to get assignments done, plenty of studying, and getting a healthy night’s sleep.

When coaches recruit, students understand it’s tough to make it at Wabash. It takes hard work, dedication, and a desire to succeed. The coaches may not groom athletes for the NBA or NFL but they groom men who go on to be doctors, lawyers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs, and they get to compete in a great conference for a great college in the process.

At Wabash it’s about the student and not just the student-athlete.

Let’s celebrate that in Sports Illustrated and on ESPN Sports Center!

Click here to see the complete Wabash College Dean’s List.

Photos above: Kody LeMond vs. Oberlin (left) and Chase Haltom vs. Marian (right)