The University of South Alabama’s (USA) run of being the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) all-sports champion has been snapped. After four straight years of taking home the coveted Vic Bubas Cup, the Jaguars ended in a tie for second place behind first-time winner Texas State University.
USA, though, continues to shine in the classroom. The university had six programs record a perfect 1,000 Academic Progress Rate (APR) mark in the 2017-2018 school year and nine of 15 teams were among the top two in the SBC during the most recent Multi-Year APR scores released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). South continues to lead the league in the latter category.
“These numbers speak to the fact that our student-athletes work incredibly hard in the classroom,” said USA Associate Athletic Director of Athletic Academic Services Jason Kelly. “It’s also a testament to our coaches, who continue to build and encourage a consistent culture of academic excellence within our athletic department.”
The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement that measures eligibility, graduation and retention rates each semester or academic term. The figure attempts to provide a clear picture of the academic performance for each team in every sport.
The USA athletic program posted a 986 Multi-Year APR figure for the period between the 2014-2015 and the 2017-2018 academic years. This was after the men’s and women’s cross country plus the men’s and women’s golf — four of the five teams to earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards in May — along with women’s basketball and men’s tennis all topped the SBC with a score of 1,000 in the last reporting period.
South’s baseball team, which was also recognized by the NCAA, stood second in the league with a 991 score. The men’s track and field team was also second while the women’s track and field team ended up third.
The cross country and golf squads both had a 1,000 Multi-Year APR mark. Other Jaguar teams leading the Sun Belt included women’s track and field (996), baseball (995), men’s tennis (992) and men’s track and field (988). The USA men’s basketball had a 990 figure and is second in the conference as well.
* Baseball America and D1Baseball have named USA outfielder Ethan Wilson first-team Freshman All-American. Wilson previously earned Freshman All-American accolades from Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The Andalusia, Ala., native was voted the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after finishing the season ranked second in the league in slugging percentage (.686) and total bases (151), tied for second in home runs (17), tied for third in runs scored (59), sixth in batting average (.345) and on-base percentage (.453).
* The Jaguars will conduct walk-on tryouts at 3 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Stanky Field. Those wishing to tryout must complete the necessary medical forms located in the Sports Medicine section of USAJaguars.com under “Walk-On Sport Tryout Information and Medical Forms,” including sickle-cell testing (or proof of previous testing) as well as a physical. Contact USA Director of Baseball Operations Andrew Carden for more information at 251-460-6876.
* Spring Hill College (SHC) junior Athina Amanor has been named to the 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-America Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country second-team roster. The Murphy High graduate is the first Badger track and field athlete to receive academic All-America honors in the NCAA Division II category. Amanor, a sprinter, carried a 4.0 grade point average into the spring semester as a pre-med student, majoring in cellular and molecular biology. During her junior season she set the school record in the 100-meter dash (12.25 seconds) and in the 200-meter dash (25.20). In addition to track and field, she also competes on the women’s tennis team.
* The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) has announced that 64 teams in the Southern States Athletic Conference have earned Scholar Team honors for the 2018-2019 academic school year. To be recognized as an NAIA Scholar Team, the squad must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
The University of Mobile had a dozen sports represented. This included volleyball (3.70), women’s golf (3.60), softball (3.59), women’s soccer (3.47), women’s tennis (3.43), women’s basketball (3.24), competitive cheer (3.18), men’s golf (3.16), women’s cross country (3.14), baseball (3.04), women’s outdoor track and field (3.01) and women’s indoor track and field (3.00).
* SHC’s court and beach volleyball programs have both earned recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) with the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2018-2019 season. The award honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team GPA on a 4.0 scale.
The court team finished the 2018 season with a 32-4 overall mark and a perfect 17-0 mark in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) regular season play. The Badgers would sweep to the SIAC Championship title at the 2018 Tournament in route to a South Region Tournament appearance in their first year of postseason eligibility in the NCAA. The Badger beach squad was 20-11 in 2019 and closed the year as the national third-place finisher at the AVCA Small College Beach Volleyball Championship.
* Top educators in the SBC have been recognized with the inaugural Faculty Member of the Year Awards. This award recognizes a faculty member from each Sun Belt institution who displays valuable classroom skills such as developing relationships, being a good communicator and showing a passion for teaching and engaging and inspiring students, while also separating themselves from their peers outside the classroom by regularly attending athletics events and displaying enthusiasm for the athletics department.
From the University of South Alabama is Dr. Alan Chow, an associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Quantitative Methods in USA’s College of Business. He was promoted to associate professor in 2015, has authored at least 30 scholarly articles and was a recipient of the 2006-2007 “Top Prof” award from the Mortar Board National Honor Society and the USA Student Government Association.
One student wrote of Chow: “The second I came to college he was the person I could always trust to go to whenever I struggled in class or just wanted to talk to about my future goals. He has always been a huge supporter of South’s athletics. He’s always helping fellow athletes and is always willing to listen and get to know his students personally.”
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