71.4% of Belmont student athletes earn 3.0 GPA or better – a record
Belmont University has won the Atlantic Sun Conference’s All-Academic Trophy for the third year in a row – a conference first – and set a new A-Sun record with 71.4 percent of its students athletes earning a GPA of 3.0 or better, the university and A-Sun Conference announced today.
The All-Academic Trophy is an annual award given to the conference school with the greatest percentage of student-athletes receiving a 3.0 or higher at the end of the academic year. Last year, Belmont set a conference record with 69 percent of its student-athletes achieving or surpassing the 3.0 GPA mark.
“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.”
Belmont’s success in the classroom was highlighted this season by three Academic All-American selections and the program’s third consecutive A-Sun Male Student-Athlete of the Year honor. Senior basketball standout Adam Mark won the conference’s top individual honor for a student-athlete for the second straight year while Wes Burtner, currently an account executive for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, earned the award in 2001-02. Additionally, Candice Mitchell was also the recipient of the award for the 2001-02 year.
The men’s cross country team, coached by Jeff Langdon, helped lead the way for the Bruins as all seven members of the team were tabbed Atlantic Sun All-Academic.. The men’s tennis and women’s cross country programs followed closely as all but one member of their squads received A-Sun All-Academic honors.
The Atlantic Sun Conference continues to prove that it excels both athletically and academically. In numbers released on Monday, a record-level 52.7 percent of the conference’s student-athletes who participated during the 2003-04 season earned all-academic honors. For the spring season alone, 51.1 percent of student-athletes in the A-Sun were honored.
For the second consecutive year, women’s cross country had the highest rate of student-athletes earn all-academic, as 78.8 percent (89 of 113) were honored, with women’s tennis placing second at 66.7 percent.
“We are thrilled to continue our success in academics,” stated Director of Athletics Mike Strickland. “This means so much to our program and the university as a whole and I can not express enough appreciation to our coaches and student-athletes.”
Atlantic Sun Conference newcomer Lipscomb University finished in second place, as 63.3 percent of all student-athletes earned at least a 3.0. Jacksonville placed third this year, with 59.3 percent of their student-athletes being honored. Mercer (59.0%) and Gardner-Webb (52.7%) rounded out the top five. UCF had the most honorees, as 136 of their 261 eligible student-athletes earned all-academic honors.
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.