Twenty-eight student athletes from St. Thomas have been named CIS Academic All-Canadians for 2012-2013.
The award is given to any student who has played on a varsity team for at least one year and has achieved an overall average of 80 per cent.
STU has four varsity teams which compete in the CIS: men’s and women’s hockey, women’s rugby and cross country.
Athletics director Mike Eagles said this award is not only important for student athletes, but also STU’s teaching staff and academic advisors.
“There’s a lot of people that support the student athletes. It’s a credit that they’re able to engage our students to want to excel and do well while still being a student athlete. The professors should be proud of the fact that they’re part of the process of these people excelling,” said Eagles.
Universities review the transcripts of all their varsity student athletes and nominate all those who qualify. There is no limit to how many student athletes a school can nominate.
Kaitlin Gamble, a winger on the women’s rugby team, said she’s honoured to be named an Academic All-Canadian.
“Balancing athletics with school can be difficult when you’re running from classes to practices and games. So, it’s nice to receive some recognition for hard work,” she said.
Just two years ago, STU only had 13 student athletes named CIS Academic All-Canadian. The record stands at 34 in 2000-01.
The Canadian Colleges Athletics Association, or CCAA, also releases their own list of student athletes who have achieved high academic standing at the national level. The CCAA award requires at least a 3.5 GPA, the same as the CIS award. Final numbers have not yet been announced, but Eagles said there are another 20 or so students on the list.
“We have roughly 200 student athletes, and roughly 25 per cent of our student athletes are getting CIS or national scholar recognition. It’s a tremendous compliment,” he said.
Eagles believes the relationship between education and athletics is changing at STU.
“The more we talk about academics and how important it is and how important going out into the community is, people start believing in that. We stress the importance of always doing your best, and that everything you put in you’re going to get back tenfold down the road,” he said.
“We want people to do their best. We’re trying to create a culture of people wanting to do well in the classroom and on the field.”