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Editorial: Student athletes

Monday, May 23, 2011

Student athletes are to be commended for their dedication to their academics as well as their sport. It's not easy managing the demands of both academics and athletics, but many brave souls attempt the feat and succeed in their endeavors.

Southeast Missouri State University has many student athletes on both men's and women's teams and across all sports who have had exceptional collegiate careers both academically and athletically.

At the university's annual All Sports Year-End Celebration earlier this month, Dustin Davis, Lauren McNamara, Jacqueline Heath and Erica Moore were all honored for their cumulative academic successes while competing athletically. Davis was the recipient of the Jewel Award, and McNamara, Heath and Moore shared the Trombetta Award. The awards are bestowed each year to the graduating senior male and female athletes with the highest GPA for their career.

Academic excellence goes beyond these four graduating seniors. According to information provided to the Southeast Missourian by the university's athletics department, 55.9 percent of the current student athletes at the end of the fall 2010 semester had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. This includes 22 out of the 290 student athletes who were carrying a cumulative GPA of 4.0.

Other recent individual and team honors include:

* Eleven of the university's 15 sports programs earned a 3.0 or higher team GPA in the fall 2010 semester, and the same 11 teams all had cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher as well.

* Southeast's women's gymnastics team recently received a public recognition award from the NCAA based on its multiyear Academic Progress Rate. The annual awards are given to teams ranking in the top 10 percent in each sport in the APR. During the 2009-2010 academic year the team had 13 individuals earn a perfect 4.0 GPA. The team has also won the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women National Academic Team Championship three out of the last four years, with the 2011 winner to be announced this summer.

* The baseball, men's cross country and women's tennis teams all won the Ohio Valley Conference Team Academic Achievement Award based on its 2009-2010 performance. The award is given annually in each conference sponsored sport to the university's team with the greatest percentage of its student athletes named to the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll.

* Southeast had 17 OVC Medal of Honor recipients for the 2009-2010 school year, all with a perfect 4.0 GPA. The award is given annually to the student athlete who achieves the highest grade point average in a conference sponsored sport.

* Seven Southeast student athletes received Academic All-District selections for the 2010-2011 school year.

* Southeast football player J.J. Sanchez was named to the ESPN Academic All-America second team in November. Other spring sport student athletes are under consideration for the national award as well.

We applaud all of the university's student athletes as well as the many high school students who balance the demands of academics, athletics, other extra-curricular activities and, for some, a job. Going forward each of you will likely face challenges, but having developed traits such as teamwork, time management and a strong work ethic, among others, we're confident you'll be better prepared to face each situation.


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