College of the Redwoods


Cal Poly Humboldt

College Matters | Student-athletes excel at College of the Redwoods

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 2:30pm

I believe the value of athletics at College of the Redwoods to be significant. Throughout our history, our athletic program has had a profound impact on student-athletes, the institution, and our community. Through athletics, we bring diverse students together who might not otherwise interact. We welcome students who, without athletics, might not have an opportunity to go to college; and we provide opportunities for Humboldt County student-athletes to continue their athletic career beyond high school while earning a degree that will influence their future successes.

While the importance of offering intercollegiate athletics at College of the Redwoods is undeniable, the criteria for assessing the success of an athletic program has long been a topic of discussion at the college. I am aware that most sports fans judge college athletic programs by the number of wins and losses. A quick glance at shows how our teams enjoy robust support in the media and the community. While having a successful athlete or team can bring positive media coverage to a college community, my definition of a successful athletic program differs from the average fan. I acknowledge that it is great to see CR’s teams winning on the field or on the court — it is much more enjoyable than losing — but as a college president, I look to academic success and student outcomes as the more important yardstick by which our athletic programs should be measured.

Attending classes and completing course assignments on time is challenging for any student, but our student-athletes have the additional time commitment for rigorous practices and conditioning sessions, mandatory study and resource support, games, and travel. Still, we see them performing at a high level both during athletic competitions and in the classroom. I am immensely proud to share the following statistics on our student-athletes with the community:

  • The percentage of student-athletes completing a degree or certificate have consistently outpaced that for non-athletes. In the 2021-22 academic year, our student-athletes were 3% more successful at earning a degree or certificate than our non-athletes. In 2020-21, it was 2% and in 2019-20, it was 4%.
  • The student-athlete course success rates (earning a C or better) and retention percentage (staying with us from one semester to the next) has consistently been greater than non-athletes every year since 2017-18. Looking at the 2021-22 academic year, student-athletes accounted for 1,255 credit-course enrollments and were successful in 86% of them. Their success rate was 10 percentage points higher than non-athletes’ 76% course success rate — a significant margin. During that same 2021-22 period, we retained 96% of student-athletes in our courses. Their retention rate was five percentage points higher than non-athletes’ 91% course retention rate.
  • At the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year, College of the Redwoods’ all student-athlete cumulative grade-point average stood at 3.06. This student-athlete GPA is higher than the district average of 2.89.

I remain impressed by the resilience, commitment, and outstanding academic achievement of our student-athletes. Their academic success is a testament to the dedicated efforts of our faculty, counselors, advisors, and staff who work hard to ensure their achievements.

The Board of Trustees and I are extremely thankful to all of our coaches for recruiting students who understand the positive impact that their College of the Redwoods athletic and academic experiences will have on their future and on the college.

Dr. Keith Flamer is the president of the College of the Redwoods.