Athletics + Academics = A Winning Combination at MU!
Mercer University actively supports, encourages and promotes its student-athletes for honors and awards which go beyond statistics alone. These types of accolades – which are also highly-valued by future employers – are offered to some degree for every sport in which MU fields a team. While some of these awards are based on individual terms, others take one’s entire college career into consideration. By listing these potential collegiate academic awards, it points out the importance of a strong start to the student-athlete’s classroom endeavors from the outset. Practice Hard...Study Hard!
RHODES SCHOLAR: Rhodes Scholarships are awarded for a period of one to three years of study at Oxford University. The scholarship pays all tuition fees in addition to a maintenance stipend. The Rhodes scholarship is normally for two years but the scholarship may be held from one to three years, depending on the degree program pursued by the scholar. The scholarship may be held for three years for students who pursue a doctoral degree. For information about courses of study, refer to the Oxford Graduate and Undergraduate Prospectuses. For the U.S. competition, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen, between the ages of 18 and 24 on October 1 of the year of application, and have received a bachelor's degree before commencing study at Oxford.
The 32 Rhodes scholarships awarded each year to U.S. citizens are distributed according to a system of 16 geographical districts. Rhodes scholarships are available to citizens of 20 countries besides the U.S. in separate competitions. At present, several constituencies regard their citizens who study at universities in the U.S. as eligible to apply for their own competition. Citizens of Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica, the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kenya, Singapore, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are eligible to apply to the Rhodes competitions for these countries on the basis of degrees from American universities.
Selection criteria are proven intellectual and academic achievement, integrity of character, interest in and respect for others, the ability to lead, and the energy to use their talents to the full. These criteria were established by the Will of Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the scholarships, which specified the following four standards:
1. Literary and scholastic attainments;
2. Energy to use one’s talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports;
3. Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
4. Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.
Underlying these standards is the aim that Scholars be physically, intellectually and morally capable of leadership. Cecil Rhodes hoped that scholars would “esteem the performance of public duties as [their] highest aim.” The Rhodes Trust hopes that scholars will play an influential part in the betterment of society, wherever their careers might take them.
The criteria are interpreted broadly. Academic
attainment of a very high standard is essential but not sufficient.
Rhodes wanted scholars who were not “mere bookworms”
but combined intellectual talents with a concern for others. While
it was once the case that most Rhodes Scholars were athletes, the
second standard is now interpreted as the vigor that will enable
someone to make an effective contribution to the world around them.
The third criterion is intangible, but they are looking for a
rooted passion and commitment. The fourth item is demonstrated by
taking an interest in others and does not presuppose an interest in
politics as a career. Not all strong candidates are “campus
politicians” or “student leaders,” though some
are. Work in theoretical physics could be an example of
“fighting the world’s fight,” another of
Rhodes’ aspirations for Rhodes Scholars.
The durable yet outmoded stereotype of the Rhodes Scholar as student-athlete-politician presents the obstacle that potential strong candidates who do not consider themselves the “Rhodes type” may not apply for the scholarship. The variety of winners in recent years suggests that there is no uniform “Rhodes type.”
The standard of academic achievement expected is higher than the older stereotype. A memorandum from the Rhodes Trust recently stated: “While we continue to select Scholars based on all the criteria in Mr. Rhodes’ Will—seeking well-rounded excellence—candidates must, obviously, be extremely able academically. Unless they would likely be admitted to one of the handful of most selective graduate schools in the United States in their area of primary interest, they are not likely to be successful as Rhodes Scholars at Oxford. Of course, we look for far more than such intellectual distinction, but it remains the essential prerequisite.”
ESPN THE MAGAZINE ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA: Selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), these awards honor excellence in the classroom, in competition and in campus/community involvement. To be nominated, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at his/her current institution. Nominated athletes must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s games at the position listed on the nomination form (where applicable). In baseball and softball, pitchers must have at least 10.0 innings pitched. Athletes who have not participated in at least 50 percent of their team’s contests are not eligible. No student-athlete is eligible until he/she has completed one full calendar year at his/her current institution and has reached sophomore athletic eligibility. In the cases of transfers, graduate students and two-year college graduates, the student-athlete must have completed one full calendar year at the nominating institution to be eligible. Nominees in graduate school must have a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or better both as an undergrad and in grad school. Student-Athletes are selected on the district level, with all first team Academic All-District selections advancing to the Academic All-America national ballot for consideration. All intercollegiate sports sponsored by Mercer University also have a corresponding Academic All-America program, meaning every student-athlete for the Bears has the opportunity to gain recognition from this widely-respected program.
NCAA POST-GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPS: The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.
The one-time grants of $7,500 each are awarded for fall sports, winter sports and spring sports. Each sports season (fall, winter and spring), there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 scholarships available for women. The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants.
The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote
and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association's
most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in
NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic
achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service,
volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated.
An equitable approach is employed in reviewing each
applicant's nomination form to provide opportunity to all
student-athlete nominees to receive the postgraduate award,
regardless of sport, division, gender or race. In maintaining
the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the
program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and
effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed
and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate
The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award celebrates the loyalty of seniors that honor a four-year commitment to their university. The Senior CLASS Award™ recognizes these student-athletes for great achievement during competition and in their community while staying in school.
Award winners are determined by a selection process that includes, NCAA Division I college coaches in each respective sport, national media, and fans. The voting process determines the winner in addition to a Senior CLASS All-America Team.
Public fan voting via text messaging and on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award web site takes place each year during the month leading up to the NCAA Championship.
ARTHUR ASHE JR. SPORTS SCHOLAR: Established in
1992 by the publication Diverse: Issues In Higher
Education, the Sports Scholars Awards honor undergraduate
students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great
Arthur Ashe Jr. A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand
opportunities for young people.
In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism. To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport; maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2; and be active on their campuses or in their communities.
ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE ALL-ACADEMIC: To be named A-Sun All-Academic, a student-athlete must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the classroom during their semester of competition. The sports sponsored by conference members include cross-country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, golf, softball, baseball, indoor and outdoor track & field.
ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Presented to a senior student-athlete – one male and one female – for outstanding achievement in the classroom, in competition and in service each competition year.
NFCA SCHOLAR-ATHLETE AND TOP 10 TEAMS (softball): Athletes who achieve a 3.5 or better GPA on a 4.0 scale are recognized as National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Scholar Athletes and these awards are based solely on GPA. The NFCA recognizes the top ten academic teams (by overall GPA) each fall through its Academic Top Ten program.
NABC HONORS COURT (men's basketball): The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) recognizes those collegiate men's basketball student-athletes who excel in academics. The NABC Honors Court recognizes the talents and gifts that these men possess off the court, and the hard work they exhibit in the classroom. In order to be named to the Honors Court, an athlete must meet a high standard of academic criteria. The qualifications are as follows: 1. Academically a junior or senior and a varsity player; 2. Cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 or higher at the conclusion of the 2009-10 academic year; 3. Students must have matriculated at least one year at their current institution; 4. Member of an NCAA Division I, II, III, or NAIA Institution.
WBCA ACADEMIC TOP 25 TEAM HONOR ROLL (women’s basketball): Since 1996, the WBCA has recognized outstanding academic performance through its Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll. The top teams in each of the five WBCA collegiate divisions, NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JC/CC, are recognized through this award.
THE CHARLES T. STONER LAW SCHOLARSHIP (women’s basketball): Presented by the WBCA, the $1,000 Charles T. Stoner Law Scholarship Award is presented annually to one senior female collegiate basketball player who intends to pursue a career in law. Any applicant is only eligible to win one scholarship award. All senior female collegiate basketball players who intend to pursue a career in law are eligible for this $1,000 scholarship award. Criteria include one letter of recommendation (which includes campus activities, academic and athletic honors, and justification for earning this award), academic major and grade point average, as well as present year game-by-game statistics.
NATIONAL SOCCER COACHES ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA SCHOLAR ALL-AMERICA TEAM & TEAM ACADEMIC AWARDS (men’s & women’s soccer): To be nominated for consideration, student-athletes must have at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) throughout their career; start more than 50 percent of all games and be a significant contributor to the team; be nominated by an institution that is a current NSCAA College Services member; be a junior or above in academic standing at the current institution and either be in their second year at the current school if a transfer student.
The Academic Team Award award honors squads with 3.0 cumulative GPA for academic year.
AVCA TEAM ACADEMIC AWARDS (volleyball): The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award honors volleyball teams at the high school and college level that are successful in the classroom. Nominees include high school or college teams that have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.30 (on a 4.00 scale) or 4.10 (on a 5.00 scale) during the full academic year (both semesters or all quarters), and include all varsity athletes who competed in volleyball with the institution for any portion of the academic year.
USTFCCCA ALL-ACADEMIC AWARDS (cross country): Recognition by the nation’s cross country coaches is given to both teams and individuals. Team honors are based upon grade point average and participation in the NCAA south Regional. Individuals are selected based on both GPA and a top-15 finish in the Regional.
ITA ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM SCHOLAR ATHLETES (tennis): The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Team award is open to any ITA program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). All eligible student-athletes whose names appear on the NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA eligibility form and have competed in one or more varsity matches must average into the GPA for the current academic year (including fall 2008 and spring 2009).
In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status a player must meet the following criteria: 1.) be a varsity letter winner, 2.) have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and 3.) have been enrolled at their present school for at least 2 semesters (including freshman thorough senior year).
GCAA TEAM ACADEMIC AWARDS & ALL-AMERICA SCHOLARS (men's golf): The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) honors teams from all divisions of collegiate golf for academic excellence. To be eligible for GCAA All-Academic Team honors a college of university must submit the grade points earned and hours attempted for each player on its official squad list for the academic year. In addition to an “Academic National Champion” team, the GCAA has the “President’s special Recognition” (3.5 or above) and the “All-Academic Team” (3.0 and above).
To be eligible for Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar status, an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least two full years at the collegiate level, participate in 70-percent of his team’s competitive rounds or compete in the NCAA Championships, have a stroke-average under 76.0 in Division I, 78.0 and maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.2. A recipient must also be of high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.
NGCA ALL-AMERICAN SCHOLAR TEAM (women's golf): The criteria for selection to the National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team are some of the most stringent in all of college athletics. The minimum cumulative GPA is 3.50 and student-athletes must have competed in at least 50% (Division I) or 66% (Division II & III) of the college’s regularly scheduled competitive rounds during the year.