FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In one of the most competitive Division I conference in the nation, graduation has always been the ultimate goal for Razorback student-athletes.
The countless hours of attending class, study hall, tutoring sessions and other academic and student development courses often go unseen by fans, whose main point of contact with student-athletes are either on the field or at the court.
This fall, Razorbacks who’ve graduated from the University and earned a degree but are still competing for their respective teams in their final year of NCAA eligibility will be honored with a special patch on their jersey that brings to light their academic achievement on a national stage.
An initiative championed by Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long, the new patch will feature the traditional red and white SEC logo with a “stole” wrapping underneath it emblazoned with the all-important word, “Graduate.”
“For our more than 460 student-athletes, Razorback Athletics is dedicated to providing a collegiate experience that is about so much more than just competing in their respective sports,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “Our mission is to develop student-athletes to their fullest potential through intercollegiate athletics, including empowering them to attain the ultimate goal of graduation. More and more, our student-athletes are achieving that goal even before their athletic eligibility has expired. In recognition of this extraordinary achievement, we have developed a patch to be worn on their respective jerseys by all those student-athletes who have earned their college degree. It is a great reminder that these talented young men and women have already achieved something truly special that will impact them the rest of their lives.”
This symbol of Arkansas higher education and the role it plays shaping the future aspirations of student-athletes long after they’ve moved on from Northwest Arkansas will serve as a badge of honor for 10 Razorbacks eligible to wear the patch in fall competition.
“It’s an impressive achievement to graduate with remaining eligibility. The time demands are great, yet these student-athletes have found a way to accelerate their academic pursuits,” Arkansas head volleyball coach Jason Watson said. “The needed commitment speaks not only to the traits of our student-athletes, but our academic support as well. Our student-athletes are surrounded by a core group of talented mentors and advisors. Together, they work to achieve remarkable academic success that sets our athletes up to be champions long after their athletic careers have ended.”