Palmetto Opinion

Ray Tanner: Honoring the ‘student’ in USC student-athletes

The State

A university is a place where students come to learn, not only about the world around them but also about themselves. Being a student-athlete provides another learning laboratory that delivers life lessons for personal growth and the betterment of communities around them.

Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina, as well as other NCAA schools, is a demanding balancing act between classes, practices, games, study hall, meetings, community activities and personal time. It takes tremendous discipline and will to succeed as a student and an athlete. Our student-athletes at South Carolina meet the tasks head-on and succeed at the highest levels.

During the past two academic years, Gamecock student-athletes have led all schools in the SEC Academic Honor Roll, earning more than 700 recognitions. Our student-athletes have earned a cumulative 3.0 grade point average or better in 18 consecutive semesters. This past fall, 15 of 18 teams had a cumulative 3.0 GPA or better. They did this while performing more than 9,000 hours of community service, breaking an athletics department record for three straight years.

During my time in Columbia, Gamecock student-athletes have won national championships, SEC titles, post-season tournament championships, All-America and all-conference selections. But we also recognize graduation as a championship experience. During the past three years, 217 of our student-athletes have earned their degree. This is the ultimate victory for all of us in intercollegiate athletics — to see young people grow and finish their college experience and become positive contributors in their communities.

Our Gamecock Student-Athlete Promise outlines the support that student-athletes receive, whether it’s for personal growth, academic support or athletic development. We take great pride in developing student-athletes for success. Student-athletes who strive for excellence in every phase of their lives on campus can lead the lives they choose.

On Wednesday, intercollegiate student-athletes from across the state will be honored at the State House as part of National Student-Athlete Day. This is a day to recognize the accomplishments of student-athletes who excel in the classroom and on the playing fields and who give back to their community through service projects.

University of South Carolina student-athletes are deserving of this recognition, and I am proud to be their athletics director. You can read about some of our student-athletes’ success stories in the “feature content” section of

Ray Tanner

USC Athletics Director