The University Athletic Association announced the members of the eighth annual UAA Presidents Council Scholar-Athlete Team. The team comprises 94 student-athletes representing UAA member institutions across 12 men’s sports and 11 women’s sports. To achieve this recognition, a student-athlete must earn first team All-Association honors and must carry a 3.50 or greater cumulative grade point average during that playing season.
Out of this year’s 92 honorees, 15 were named the most outstanding performer or most valuable player in their sport by their respective UAA coaches’ group, seven won NCAA Division III individual national championships, and four were awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. This select group of scholar-athletes represents approximately 42% of the eligible All-Association first team honorees for 2015-16.
The UAA Presidents Council created this special recognition in 2009. The original recommendation to establish this honor came from the UAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was supported by the Athletic Administrators and Delegates Committees.
The UAA has recognized exceptional academic achievement by its student-athletes since 1998 when the Presidents Council established a program of All-Academic recognition for student-athletes who carry a cumulative grade point average that meets the threshold for Academic All-America® recognition (currently a 3.30 GPA). On average, approximately 56% of eligible sophomore, junior, and senior student-athletes from UAA member teams have met that threshold each year. “While our student-athletes appreciated the All-Academic recognition, they sought something that would more directly recognize the combination of academic and athletic excellence that is at the core of the UAA philosophy,” commented UAA Executive Secretary Dick Rasmussen. “In proposing the concept of the award, one of our SAAC members suggested — as UAA student-athletes this is what we do, this is who we are.”
As a group, UAA student-athletes and teams have consistently demonstrated high levels of both academic and athletic achievement. The UAA Presidents Council Scholar-Athlete Team recognition demonstrates the success of these principles at the level of the individual student-athlete.
Biennial studies completed by the Association over the last 15 years have consistently shown that the cumulative grade point averages of athletic teams have been statistically equal to or greater than the campus population GPA. In the most recent study, covering the 2012-13 academic year, student-athletes in seven of eight women’s sports studied and student-athletes in six of nine men’s sports studied across the UAA had average cumulative GPA’s equal to or higher than the overall GPA average for the general student body on UAA campuses. Of the 66 women’s teams and 69 men’s teams included in the study, 82 teams (61 percent) met or exceeded the existing 3.30 GPA standard for nominating individuals for Academic All-America® recognition.