Bruins set new standard for athletic, academic excellence
For the eighth time in its 10-year conference history, Belmont University has claimed the Atlantic Sun All-Academic Trophy, the league office announced Thursday. All told, 174 out of 228 in-season Belmont student-athletes earned academic honors, giving the university the greatest percentage of All-Academic honorees at 76.3 percent. That figure represents a new single-year program standard for Belmont University Athletics.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “I’m always proud of the strong performance of our student-athletes both in the classroom and in their chosen sports. But it’s particularly meaningful to win this award eight out of the past 10 years in a conference as academically competitive as the Atlantic Sun. To be awarded this trophy on the heels of conference championships in men’s basketball and baseball makes it all the more special.”
Belmont posted a 3.318 grade-point average in the 2011 spring semester – the highest department GPA since Belmont became an NCAA Division I member institution in 1997 and marking the 27th consecutive semester in which the departmental GPA has exceeded 3.0.
Last month, four Belmont teams – men’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s golf, and women’s soccer – made the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Recognition List, signifying each program ranking in the top 10 percent within their respective sports nationwide for their academic progress rate as determined by the NCAA. In fact, Belmont men’s basketball and men’s soccer have made the list every year since the APR program’s inception in 2006.
In February of this year, men’s basketball junior Scott Saunders was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team, marking the 18th time a Belmont student-athlete has received Academic All-America honors. Saunders, teammate Mick Hedgepeth, Brett Parker (men’s soccer) and Judah Akers (baseball) also earned Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
“We continue to marvel at the vast achievement of our student-athletes,” Belmont University Director of Athletics Mike Strickland said. “Embodying lofty standards in the classroom while also competing for and winning championships on the field of play is something that merits high praise.”
To be named an A-Sun All-Academic, a student-athlete must achieve a 3.0 GPA or higher in the classroom during their semester of competition. The student-athlete must participate in a conference sponsored sport and be on the team’s final squad list. The sports sponsored by the conference members are cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, golf, softball, baseball, indoor and outdoor track & field.
Atlantic Sun member institutions include Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.