University of Montana student athletes have passed a major milestone, not on the field or on the court, but in the classroom.

UM Athletic Director Kent Haslam said the entire student athlete population has excelled when it comes to grades.

"Well, it's 17 straight semesters with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, dating all the way back to 2006," Haslam said. "I'm just so proud of what these student athletes do not only in the classroom but in competition and in the community, and I'm very grateful for how hard they work."

Haslam gives much of the credit to the academic services staff that help the student athletes keep their priorities in order.

"We have three people that work in that staff," Haslam said. "They work tirelessly to help our student athletes navigate the NCAA requirements with academic eligibility and also to help maintain high academic standards."

Haslam said student athletes have a rigorous schedule at UM.

"It's not easy being a student athlete," Haslam said. "You've got to remember these are young men and women who practice 20 hours a week who compete, who travel, and must also maintain a larger credit load than the typical student, So, making sure they remain eligible is a top priority, and that really starts with the type of people we recruit, and also the staff that we have working with them."

Haslam said he and his staff make a commitment to the student athletes and their parents and families when they consider attending the University of Montana.

"I can't guarantee you a certain number of wins, I can't guarantee you a championship, or a certain amount of playing time," Haslam said. "But, I can guarantee you this. If you do your best and do your part, that you'll walk away from the University of Montana with a degree, and that degree will serve you in the future as you get into society and chart out the life you want to live. If you work hard, we'll definitely do our part."

UM Athletic Director Kent Haslam