Belmont University has won the Atlantic Sun Conference’s All-Academic Trophy for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year, becoming the only school in league history to win the award four times. The award, announced today, is given annually to the conference school with the greatest percentage of student-athletes earning a GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of the academic year.
“We are thrilled to capture this trophy for the fourth consecutive year,” said Mike Strickland, Director of Athletics. “Earning this honor is important to everyone on the Belmont campus and credit should be given to all of the hard work our academic staff, coaches, and especially our student-athletes have done over the past school year.”
“At Belmont, we are committed to having our student-athletes be students first – therefore, it is a tremendous honor for them to be recognized for their work in the classroom,” said university President Dr. Robert Fisher. “While other schools across the country are working to achieve academic success with their athletes, I’m thrilled it has always been the case with student-athletes at Belmont.”
The University of Central Florida finished second in the trophy race with 58 percent of its student athletes with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Gardner-Webb University finished third with 56, David Lipscomb University (55 percent) and Mercer University (53 percent) rounded out the top five.
Of Belmont’s 221 student athletes, 152, or 69 percent, received Academic All-Conference honors over the 2004-05 school year.
To be named A-Sun All-Academic, a student-athlete must achieve a 3.0 or higher in the classroom during their semester of competition. The sports sponsored by the Atlantic Sun are cross country, soccer, women’s volleyball, basketball, tennis, golf, softball, baseball and track & field.
Two Belmont teams had all but one of its student-athletes earn All-Academic honors – women’s cross country (10 of 11) and men’s tennis (6 of 7). The baseball team had the greatest number of awardees with 20.
Several student-athletes from various teams went on to earn honors on the national level. Two men’s basketball players, Nick Otis and Jese Snyder, were named to the Academic All-District IV team while men’s soccer player Matt Renfrow named to the Verizon Academic All-District IV team.
Beyond GPAs, Belmont’s graduation rate for student athletes is the second-highest among all Division 1 schools in Tennessee and second highest in the Atlantic Sun Conference. See Chart
According to the NCAA report of graduation rates for all NCAA schools, 62 percent of all NCAA student-athletes who entered Division I colleges and universities in 1997 graduated in the six-year window established by the U.S. Department of Education as the standard. At Belmont, 64 percent of student athletes who enrolled in the school in 1997 graduated within the six-year window, two points above the national average and only one point below first place.