South Dakota State’s Athletics Academic Achievement Unit will provide advising, leadership, supervision, monitoring, tutoring and other services to student-athletes within the framework of the university, departmental, and NCAA regulations and resources. 

The support given to student athletes will evolve through a series of academic programs directed toward making the student-athlete increasingly independent as a person and scholar. 


ACADEMIC ALL-MISSOURI VALLEY FOOTBALL CONFERENCE – Since joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008, the Jackrabbits have consistently led the conference in academic all-conference and honor roll selections. In 2014, South Dakota State had five student-athletes selected to the first or second team Academic All-MVFC team. Headlining the list were first-team selections Jason Schneider (pharmacy) and Zach Zenner (biology/pre-medicine). 

ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS – Since 1974, South Dakota State has produced 30 Academic All–Americans in football. The most notable of these is Adam Vinatieri, who went on to a stellar career with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.

In 2014, South Dakota State had three student-athletes named to the first team Capital One Academic All-American Team — tied for the most in the country. The honors went to repeat selections Jason Schneider and Zach Zenner, along with Nick Purcell.

A senior wide receiver from Andover, Minnesota, Schneider complied a 3.98 grade point average in pharmacy and was a second-team all-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection.

After making the second team in 2012, Zach Zenner garnered first-team honors in both 2013 and 2014. A native of Eagan, Minnesota, Zenner achieved a 3.86 GPA in biology/pre-medicine while racking up over 2,000 yards on the ground for the third consecutive year during his season season.

Purcell, an offensive lineman from Rapid City, earned his Academic All-America award after posting a perfect 4.0 GPA while majoring in biology/pre-medicine.

Zach Zenner – 2014 (Finalist)
Brandon Huert – 2013 (Semifinalist)  
Tyrel Kool – 2012 (Semifinalist)
Brad Iverson – 2011 (Semifinalist)
Conrad Kjerstad – 2010 (Semifinalist)
Ryan Berry – 2008 (Finalist)


2013 – Andrew Brown, Brandon Hubert, Josh Kage, R.C. Kilgore, Alex Parker, Taylor Suess, Trevor Tiefenthaler, Bryan Witzmann, Winston Wright
2012 – Ross Shafrath, Bo Helm, Seth Daughters, Tyrel Kool, Alex Olinger
2011 – Zach Buchner, Brad Iverson, Jason Schlautman
2010 – Casey Bender, Chris Johnson, Casey Knips, Saunders Montague, Jimmy Rogers
2009 – Ryan Berry, Brock Campbell, Nick Flesner, Kevin Robling

ACADEMIC PROGRES RATE (APR) – South Dakota State led the Missouri Valley Football Conference during the 2011-2012 season in Academic Progress Rate. The Annual Progress Rate measures the retention, eligibility, and graduation rate of athletic programs. Since joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008, the Jackrabbits have led the conference in APR three years and have finished second twice. 

TEAM GRADE POINT AVERAGE – Since joining the Missouri Valley Football conference in the 2008 season, SDSU has won the All–Academic Award each year. This award is presented to the team that has the highest GPA for the academic year. For the 2013-14 academic year, the Jackrabbit football team posted a fall team GPA of 3.03. The Jackrabbit Football team has achieved a cumulative GPA of above a 3.0 every year since joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference. 

SDSU FOOTBALL STUDENT–ATHLETE MAJORS – For the 2014 football season the 100-plus members of the team represented more than 30 different majors on campus. Student-athletes  


STUDY TABLE – The study table program is designed to improve the academic skills of freshman or transfer student-athletes to increase the likelihood of success in the classroom. 

The study table program is required of all freshmen and transfer football student athletes. The study table program consists of three hours per week of group study table and six hours a week of individual study table. Hours or semesters involved in study table could increase or decrease per coaches or advisers discretion. 

The tutoring and support program is designed to assist football student-athletes with their studies and promote academic excellence. Several resources are available for the student-athletes.

Math Tutoring  – Math tutors are available through the athletic department.  Math tutors can be assigned by contacting the athletic academic advisor.

Math Help Center – The Math Department provides a Math Help Center which offers assistance in nearly all of the math classes offered on campus. 

The Writing Center – The Writing Center is located in the Wintrode Student Center and is available to assist any students with writing problems in courses. The Writing Center staff consists of instructors and graduate students in the Department of English.

Wintrode Center – The Wintrode Tutoring Program provides free tutoring to student-athletes in select courses. Students who access tutoring will receive assistance with understanding course content and develop study strategies that will allow for success in their course. 

Supplemental Instruction – Supplemental Instruction is available in a number of courses offered on campus. Supplemental Instruction is a series of weekly review sessions for students enrolled in historically difficult courses.  Each session is led by a SI Leader, who is a student that has previously taken and has excelled in the course.

Grade Checks – Student-athletes are required to complete a grade check twice a semester. Each student will visit with their instructor, have their instructor fill in a grade and any appropriate comments on the form, and then return their form to their position coach.

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