A look at how Tennessee's athletic teams fared for the fall semester:
Sport Fall GPA Overall GPA
Baseball 2.74 2.71
Basketball (Men) 2.37 2.59
Basketball (Women) 3.17 3.03
Football 2.08 2.47
Golf (Men) 3.45 3.28
Golf (Women) 3.37 3.39
Rowing 3.26 3.22
Soccer 3.05 3.03
Softball 3.34 3.32
Swimming (Men) 2.92 2.95
Swimming (Women) 3.17 3.19
Tennis (Men) 3.28 3.36
Tennis (Women) 3.43 3.31
Track (Men) 2.80 2.80
Track (Women) 3.30 3.30Volleyball 3.33 3.42Overall 2.86 2.94Total athletes: 483 Below 2.0: 79 2.01-2.49: 68
2.50-2.99: 98 3.0-3.49: 123 3.49-4.0: 115
The reminder was issued to Tennessee almost as soon as spring practice officially ended.
There will be tests for the Vols to see if they were paying attention.
A team grade-point average of 2.08 in the fall suggested there were plenty of football players spending the spring semester on academic probation with a GPA under 2.0. Radio station WNML reported earlier this week that the number was as high as 30 players and included 24 scholarship athletes.
School officials could not confirm nor deny the report due to federal privacy laws.
The News Sentinel reported on Feb. 6 that the football team had a "tough fall" academically after attending a presentation by NCAA faculty representative Dan Murphy to university faculty.
Donna Thomas, who was the director of the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center at the time, said the football team's GPA was below a 2.45 and no sports team fell below a 2.0.
And while coach Derek Dooley wasn't able to discuss players specifically during in an interview Thursday with the News Sentinel, he pointed to a number of factors that helped contribute to the lowest academic marks of his two-year tenure with the program. He repeatedly stressed that the Vols have addressed them as they close out spring off the field.
"Supporting the team academically is a team effort, OK, and it starts with the players — their effort
and willingness to do it," Dooley said. "It extends with the coaches and genuinely enforcing the accountability policy and weekly emphasis on the importance of getting their degree. Thirdly it's the support system academically at Thornton Center. All of them have to work together as a team, and we did not have a good working dynamic last fall when you look back, and it was a surprise when it happened.
"There were a lot of things that I think had an impact on it, and all of those things have been ironed out and addressed."
Those issues appeared to range from lack of motivation after the Vols lost a regular-season ending game at Kentucky that kept them out of a bowl game to upheaval on the staff in the Thornton Center, which included new faces in at least four positions critical to the football team.
But regardless of how it happened, the Vols couldn't afford to wait long for improvement with the possibility of players getting dismissed if they posted another semester with a GPA under 2.0.
The Vols already had examples they could point to about the importance of continuously working to maintain eligibility with offensive lineman JerQuari Schofield and defensive lineman Corey Miller both missing valuable practice time this spring due to academic issues. And with the deepest of his three teams expected to be on campus this fall, Dooley made clear he didn't want that list to grow when finals roll around at UT.
"Every semester matters, and there are a few guys we're always worried about," Dooley said. "But we have less guys this year that we're concerned about from an eligibility standpoint, believe it or not, than we've had in the past.
"Ultimately what happens on finals and afterward can really impact your football team. ... I think we're having a great semester now and we shouldn't have that problem. This is my seventh academic term and we hadn't had one like that, and I don't think we'll have another one like that again."