A total of 123 University of South Alabama student-athletes were recognized Thursday at the Scholar-Athlete Breakfast, an event honoring those who had a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher in the spring held at the University Student Center Ballroom.
Those individuals — who comprise more than one-third of the department's total number of student-athletes — came from all 17 Jaguar sport programs, and included 46 competitors who recorded a 4.0 GPA last semester. Their efforts helped South post a cumulative department GPA of 3.03 in the spring as 14 teams had a mark of 3.0 or better.
The department's performance last semester not only led to a school-record 186 student-athletes receiving Sun Belt Conference academic honors but to a fourth straight Vic Bubas Cup, the award presented to the league school with the best all-round results in competition.
The teams recognized for earning the highest grade-point averages during the spring semester were men's cross country and women's golf, while the football and softball programs were presented awards for the most improved GPA from the previous fall.
As part of the event the Department of Athletics also recognized Eric Moody, an assistant professor in the school's Integrative Studies department.
"It is a pleasure to be here on behalf of [University President] Dr. Tony Waldrop. Congratulations to you for all your hard work and contributions to the University of South Alabama," Dr. Michael Mitchell, South Alabama Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, said. "It takes a lot of dedication, time management, perseverance and commitment to compete in athletics, and the same is true for academics. We are honored that you are a part of South Alabama and proud of your performance. But you don't excel on your own in your academic pursuits, you are coached along the way by the faculty; it is humbling for those here today to be chosen by a student-athlete.
"In addition to recognizing your academic achievements, let me thank you for what you do for this university and your fellow students. You instill pride and create a sense of community at South Alabama."
"Student-athletes are here because somewhere along the line they were evaluated for their physical abilities and talents," said USA Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann. "The attributes that help them in the world of competition and the game they love parallel what is required to be successful in the classroom. Some student-athletes are attending their second, third or fourth breakfast, this is another day in the office for them; they are taking advantage of their talent to perform at an extremely high level academically. Some student-athletes grind and have pride in what they do — they are driven to work two or three times as hard as everyone else in the classroom — and some are in between, but somewhere along the line each one made the decision that they were going to do really well academically.
"Whether it is athletic or academic competition, we applaud those individuals for what they do in representing our department and university at the highest level."