MACON, Ga. – Lipscomb University claimed the Atlantic Sun Conference Academic Champion honors and joined three other institutions and nine sports in setting record highs as the 2013-14 A-Sun All-Academic honors were announced by the league office on Thursday.
More than 64 percent of the student-athletes in the Atlantic Sun Conference posted a 3.0 grade point average or better and four institutions recorded highs during the 2013-14 academic year, including the 78 percent of Lipscomb student-athletes honored as the Bisons claim this year's top honor.
"What an amazing conclusion to a fantastic year for the A-Sun; congratulations to our student-athletes!" said A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. "These results reflect an impressive commitment from every part of the A-Sun team – student-athletes, coaches, faculty, athletic department staff – all meeting our mission of Building Winners for Life at the highest level ever."
Already one of the most successful seasons for the A-Sun in recent history in terms of its competition and participation in postseason play, many also reached unparalleled heights in the classroom as well. For the fifth consecutive year more than 60 percent of the A-Sun's teams were honored, a first for the conference.
Also for the second straight year at least three institutions eclipsed the 70 percent mark for All-Academic selections. Along with Lipscomb, three other institutions – Mercer University (74.80), Florida Gulf Coast University (70.51) and Kennesaw State University (60.87) – also recorded new highs in their final percentages of student-athletes honored academically.
In addition to the institutional highs, a total of nine sports also recorded percentage highs including baseball, men's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, men's tennis, women's cross country and volleyball. Five sports also turned in totals of at least 80 percent of the teams recording a 3.0 GPA or better – women's lacrosse (84.52), sand volleyball (83.56), men's tennis (81.58), women's soccer (80.42) and women's cross country (80.00).
A total of 38 student-athletes earned Presidential Scholar recognition by completing their eligibility with a GPA of 3.8 or better. President's Scholar honors are earned by all student-athletes who are listed in the final squad list for their sport, who earn a cumulative GPA of 3.8 or above, who have completed their final year of eligibility and who have received their bachelor's degree this year.
Including many from this elite group of scholars, a total of 119 (up from 114 in 2012-13) student-athletes received their undergraduate degrees while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA during the 2013-14 academic year. This outstanding group includes several sport-specific Scholar-Athlete of the Year winners: Mercer's Derrick Workman (men's soccer), Jake Gollon (men's basketball); Lipscomb's three-time winner Tessa Hoefle (women's cross country); Jacksonville's two-time winner Alexandra Hoffman (women's lacrosse); and ETSU's Adam Chase (men's cross country, track & field) and Lexie Burley (women's track & field) and North Florida's Anna Budinska (sand volleyball).
Other A-Sun First-Team All-Conference selections with perfect GPAs include: ETSU's Megan Devine (volleyball), Jacksonville's Sammie Strausbaugh (volleyball, sand volleyball), Lipscomb's Lauren Ford (volleyball), KSU's Alexandra Apostu (women's tennis), North Florida's Simona Weymar (women's tennis), FGCU's Kelsey Carpenter (softball), KSU's Simon Pritchard (men's tennis) and Northern Kentucky's Mate Virag (men's tennis).
Another 41 student-athletes claimed Commissioner Scholar recognition for landing between the 3.6 and 3.79 GPA status upon graduation, along with meeting the same requirements as Presidential Scholar recipients. Conference Scholar recognition was bestowed on another 627 individuals for their sustained achievement over at least two years, paired with a 3.4 cumulative GPA or better.
The A-Sun recognized 1,714 student-athletes as All-Academic selections for their work in the classroom by reaching the 3.0 mark, up from last year by an impressive 214. More than one-third of the 38 Presidential Scholars came from ETSU (38), while Stetson (10) accounted for a quarter of the Commissioner's Scholars and Lipscomb's total of 96 Conference Scholars topped the A-Sun. Lipscomb's total of 211 honorees was also the most in the conference.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun footprint reaches into seven of the top media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.