Thursday, January 24, 2008
MACON, Ga. - The Atlantic Sun Conference's strong tradition of academic success continued with the announcement of the fall All-Academic teams. On Thursday, the conference office announced that over 57 percent of men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball and volleyball players earned All-Academic status, up from 55.7 percent last year.
Belmont, the winner of five of previous six Academic Trophies holds a narrow lead over last year's champion Gardner-Webb in the overall team competition. Only Belmont and Gardner-Webb can claim the distinction as having all seven teams place at least 50 percent of their student-athletes on the All-Academic teams. The Bruins lead with 81 student-athletes on the team.
In total, 727 student-athletes made the All-Academic teams. From that group, 53 seniors earned this distinction for the fourth straight year, led by Belmont's 20 four-time All-Academic members, including the reigning Atlantic Sun Male Student Athlete of the Year, Justin Hare.
Among fall sports, women's cross country and women's soccer lead the pack. Over 72 percent of all Atlantic Sun women's cross country student-athletes made the All-Academic teams, including 100 percent rates from Belmont and Mercer. Women's soccer closely follows cross country with 71.5 percent of those student-athletes earning All-Academic honors. In addition to Belmont and Mercer's women's cross country teams, Gardner-Webb placed its entire volleyball team on the All-Academic team, becoming the only three with that distinction.
To be named A-Sun All-Academic, a student-athlete must achieve a 3.0 or higher in the classroom during their semester of competition. The sports sponsored by conference members are cross-country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, golf, softball, baseball, indoor and outdoor track & field.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is a 12-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gardner-Webb University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.