The University Athletic Association announced the members of the 11th annual UAA Presidents Council Scholar-Athlete Team. The team comprises a record 116 student-athletes representing all UAA member institutions across 12 men’s sports and 11 women’s sports. To achieve this recognition, a student-athlete is required to earn first team All-Association honors and must carry a 3.50 or greater cumulative grade point average during the playing season of their sport.
Out of this year’s 116 honorees, 10 were named the most outstanding performer or most valuable player in their sport by their respective UAA coaches’ group, six won NCAA Division III individual national championships and/or were named national Player of the Year, and five were awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. This select group of scholar-athletes represents approximately 43% of the eligible All-Association first team honorees for 2018-19.
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 Director 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 the general campus population GPA. In the most recent study, covering the 2016-17 academic year, 50 percent of all women’s and all men’s teams across the UAA had average cumulative GPA’s equal to or higher than the overall average for their respective campuses. Of the 68 women’s teams and 70 men’s teams included in the study, 60 women’s teams (88 percent) and 49 men’s teams (70 percent) met or exceeded the 3.30 GPA standard for nominating individuals for Academic All-America recognition.