Pacific University has roughly 1,700 students and 501 student athletes. With such a high number of athletes, sporting events are attended regularly, creating an environment athletes want to play in. The retention rate at Pacific is upwards of 90 percent.

Although Pacific academically rigorous, it has not affected student athletes from returning to their sport year after year.

“I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest athletes are dropping a sport after their first year in any significant number due to academic rigor of the institution,” said Associate Director of Athletics Lauren Esbensen.

The athletic department takes retention rates very seriously because it is important to provide an environment athletes want to play in, where they can excel not only athletically, but academically.

“We continually work with many different members of our University community to identify and implement programs to increase retention at Pacific,” Esbensen said.

Unlike Division I schools, student athletes at Pacific cannot obtain athletic scholarships or priority registration for classes.

This can pose a problem for athletes when registering for classes because of practice and game schedules.

There is no special treatment for athletes in regard to academics and students have the same academic commitment that all students have.

With that said, the retention rate is still high and can be contributed to the environment Pacific has created.

The coaches are a big reason for the high retention rate.

Their willingness to provide a great experience for student athletes leads to higher retention rates.

“Coaches and teams also create and participate in many team building activities that lead to a family atmosphere which increases retention,” Esbensen said.

With family at the forefront for Pacific athletics, success goes hand in hand.

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