Andrew Elliott and Bianca Alvarez were the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor recpients.
June 21, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Spring Commencement at Ohio State University - the 400th commencement in school history and the final under the quarter system - put a cap on an outstanding year in the classroom for the nearly 950 Ohio State student-athletes.
In all, 174 current and former student-athletes graduated during the 2011-12 academic year, including 123 at the spring ceremony.
"The continued academic success is a tribute to our faculty, coaches and student-athletes," Gene Smith, associate vice president/director of athletics, said. "Our priority is always to ensure our student-athletes get an outstanding education and degree. I am extremely proud of them, especially the 174 graduates."
A record 548 Buckeyes were honored as Ohio State Scholar-Athletes in May and student-athletes closed out the year with a 3.07 cumulative grade-point average, including a 3.04 during spring quarter. An impressive 51 posted a 4.00 gpa during spring quarter. Twenty-five teams had a gpa of 3.0 or greater in the spring, with women's gymnastics and men's diving pacing the group.
"Ohio State's student-athletes continue to meet and exceed a wide range of academic benchmarks necessary to remain eligible to compete athletically," Professor John P. Bruno, the University's Faculty Athletics Representative, said. "Their success, exemplified in graduation rates (our primary goal), the high percentage of scholar-athletes and a hoard of individual academic awards at the conference and national levels is a tribute to the student-athletes, their coaches and our terrific student-athlete academic support services (SASSO)."
Ohio State led the conference with 312 Academic All-Big Ten selections, with 66 in fall, 59 in winter and 187 for spring and at-large sports, the only program with more than 300 honorees for the year. To be named to the league's academic team, student-athletes must be a letterwinner in at least their second year on campus and have a cumulative gpa of 3.0 or higher.
Five Buckeyes were named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Sophomore Aaron Craft was a first team selection, the first Ohio State men's basketball student-athlete to earn Academic All-America honors since Bill Hosket in 1968. Andrew Elliott of the swimming team earned a spot on the first team for at-large sports, while Alicia Herron was a first-team choice for softball. Two Buckeyes were second-team selections for at-large sports: men's hockey defenseman Sean Duddy and rower Ulrike Denker. (At-large sports include 25 men's and women's sports that do not have their own Academic All-America teams.) Eight Buckeyes earned CoSIDA Academic All-District accolades during the year.
Craft, an exercise science major, also was the winner of the NCAA Elite 89 award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA championships.
Five Ohio State teams - football (within the FBS cohort), men's and women's tennis and men's and women's volleyball - received NCAA Public Recognition Awards for earning an APR in the Top 10 percent of their respective sports.
"These academic achievements are direct reflections of our student-athletes' investment of time and effort in their academic endeavors," David Graham, assistant provost and associate athletics director at Ohio State, said. "All of Buckeye Nation should feel confident in the remarkable educational and athletic experiences each of our student-athletes receives at the Ohio State University."
In all, Ohio State student-athletes received $64,000 in postgraduate awards, highlighted by Elliott and diver Bianca Alvarez who were the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor recipients.
Elliott and diver Sean Moore both received $7,500 awards from the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship program, with just 174 scholarships awarded annually across all divisions. To qualify, student-athletes must excel academically and athletically, be in their final year of eligibility and plan to pursue graduate study. Student-athletes must also maintain at least a 3.2 grade-point average and be nominated by their institution's faculty athletics representative.