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SEC leads in academic nods

SEC leads in academic nods

Release courtesy of the Southeastern Conference office.

FAYETTEVILLE- Including two Razorbacks, the Southeastern Conference had 15 of its student-athletes earn first-team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America status in 2009-10, more than any other Division I conference in the nation.

The Big 12 had 14 while the Big Ten and Pac-10 had 13 student-athletes each earn the honor.

The SEC had 36 total student-athletes earn either first, second or third team mention. That total is second overall to the Big 12 Conference, which had 39. The Big Ten was third with 34 total student-athletes earned first, second or third team mention.

The SEC had three of its student-athletes earn the Academic All-America of the Year award in their specific sports – more than any other conference. Mississippi State softball player Chelsea Bramlett, Florida football player Tim Tebow and Tennessee track & field athlete Phoebe Wright earned Academic All-America of the Year in their sports.

A kinesiology major with a 3.95 GPA and a minor in psychology, former Razorback Katie Stripling was a four-time NCAA All-American, a three-time SEC champion and three-time All-SEC honoree. She finished fifth in the pole vault at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships. She was named the 2009 SEC co-Field Athlete of the Year for her win in the pole vault. Stripling is now a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American, also receiving the honor in 2009, and she has been a member of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association All-Academic teamfourtimes.

As a kinesiology and biomechanics major, former Razorback softball player Jessica Bachkora carried a 3.94 cumulative GPA. On the field this season, Bachkora set a career-high in nearly every offensive category: batting average, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage, walks and on-base percentage. Her marks for runs and total bases represent new Arkansas records. Her home run on May 8 against Auburn, gave her 15 home runs for the season, setting a new single-season record for home runs in a season.

To be eligible for ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Voting for the teams is done by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Since the program’s inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 15,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.

The SEC’s academic success of its student-athletes in 2009-10 was not just Academic All-Americans. The league honored 2,424 of its own student-athletes who made the SEC Academic Honor Roll. The league also honored Auburn swimmer Jordan Anderson and Tennessee track & field athlete Phoebe Wright with its McWhorter Scholar-Athletes of the Year as well as naming a scholar-athlete of the year in each of its sports.

Among honors given by the NCAA, SEC student-athletes also shined. Three student-athletes from the SEC – Florida’s Tim Tebow (football), Georgia’s Courtney Kupets (gymnastics) and Alabama’s Brittany Rogers (softball) were honored this past year with the Today’s Top VIII Award from the NCAA. Since 2004, the SEC has had 10 student-athletes awarded this honor, more than any other conference in the country.

The SEC also had 13 student-athletes receive NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships in 2009-10, more than any other conference in the nation.

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