Dec. 20, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - When he was introduced as interim head coach Nov. 25, Patrick Higgins pledged that making sure the Boilermakers took care of business academically was priority No. 1.
"My approach is to make sure that our student-athletes are students first because they have finals coming up," Higgins said three and a half weeks ago. "We have to continue the academic role we play in their daily lives."
After practice Thursday, Higgins announced that the team members achieved a grade-point average of 2.67 for the fall semester - compared with 2.48 last fall - and had raised its cumulative mark to 2.76.
"If you can do that caliber of work, that's pretty darn good, especially with all the demands that are placed upon the kids during the fall semester," Higgins said. "We're happy with that, and we're really happy with the freshman class because they did a tremendous job."
A total of 42 student-athletes (out of 104 on the roster - all of whom are eligible to play in the upcoming bowl game) earned a 3.0 or better semester GPA, including five with a perfect 4.0: junior quarterback Rob Henry, freshman linebacker Jimmy Herman, redshirt freshman kicker Sam McCartney, freshman offensive lineman J.J. Prince and fifth-year defensive tackle Kawann Short.
Earlier this month, 16 football student-athletes were named Academic All-Big Ten: Ishmael Aristide, Sterling Carter, Cody Davis, Trevor Foy, Kurt Freytag, Henry, Justin Kitchens, Robert Kugler, Robert Maci, Robert Marve, McCartney, Shane Mikesky, Michael Rouse III, Jesse Schmitt, Justin Sinz and Crosby Wright.
Purdue (6-6) will square off against Oklahoma State (7-5) in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1 at the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Boilermakers are playing in back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 2006 and 2007 and their 12th bowl game in the last 16 seasons.
Tickets for the Heart of Dallas Bowl are priced at $75 and can be ordered through the Purdue Athletic Ticket Office anytime on-line or by phone (494-3194 or 800-49-SPORT) or in-person from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In conjunction with the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Purdue Athletics Department has set up a program where fans can purchase tickets to be donated to local community programs.
In addition, Boilermaker Nation can help defray the cost of sending the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band and/or the Reamer Club to the game.
To take part in either initiative, click here, call 494-3194 or 800-49-SPORT, or visit the Athletic Ticket Office Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Heart of Dallas is a new non-profit organization that hosts sports and entertainment events benefitting Dallas charities.
Proceeds from Heart of Dallas activities will be used to invest in collective impact strategies that make Dallas a better place. Demonstrating Heart of Dallas' commitment to its home city, net profits from the Heart of Dallas Bowl - the organizations' inaugural event - will benefit charities serving the homeless population in Dallas.