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Somerset, NJ --
It was a year in the classroom like no other for the Northeast Conference (NEC) student-athletes.
In winning its first-ever NEC Institutional Academic Award, LIU established a new single-year conference record with a combined 3.489 grade point average across 22 sports. The Sharks just barely edged out Saint Francis U, which finished with a 3.482 GPA. LIU and SFU were among five institutions that broke the previous record of 3.432 set by Robert Morris in 2018-19. Bryant (3.455), Sacred Heart (3.453) and FDU (3.443) also bettered RMU’s standard, while Wagner (3.432) matched the Colonials’ effort from a year ago.
Overall, NEC student-athletes combined to shatter the conference single-season record with a 3.404 overall GPA. The previous high-water mark was set in 2017-18 with a 3.281 combined GPA.
All 11 NEC schools finished with a 3.229 GPA or higher in 2019-20.
Remarkably, 100 percent of NEC women’s teams (120-of-120) posted at least a 3.0 GPA and a record 91.9 percent of all conference teams (194-of-211) cracked the 3.0 mark.
“In challenging times NEC student-athletes shined like never before, and I couldn’t be any prouder,” said Noreen Morris, NEC Commissioner. “First and foremost, I’d like to congratulate LIU for breaking the all-time NEC GPA record in winning our highest academic honor. This is the byproduct of an institution-wide commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence, and the support given to Shark student-athletes. Similarly, it’s awe-inspiring to see NEC student-athletes reach new heights with a record-breaking 3.40 conference-wide GPA. They never cease to amaze me with their ability to balance their academic and athletic pursuits, while volunteering countless hours to make a difference their local communities. I thank the NEC coaches, administrators and Presidents for providing the framework and support system to make this all possible.”
LIU finished second in the NEC Institutional Academic Award standings in 2018-19, and has finished no lower than fourth in each of the last seven years.
“First and foremost our coaches do a great job establishing a commitment to excellence culture,” said LIU Director of Athletics Dr. Bill Martinov. “That culture is about being a student first, which is the basis for our success. At LIU we take it a step further and talk about a 4 and 40-year commitment, and how we emphasize and support our students in that four-year experience because of how it impacts the next 40 years of their lives. We embrace that responsibility as an institution and as an athletic department. We’re excited to see our students do so well and to be part of a conference from top to bottom that’s doing just tremendous. We’re in great company and we’re honored to win this award and represent Long Island University.”
All 22 LIU teams that competed in NEC sponsored sports posted at least a 3.0 GPA and 12 compiled a 3.5 or better GPA on the year.
“The hard work and academic dedication exhibited by our student-athletes represent the highest ideals at LIU,” said Long Island University President Dr. Kimberly R. Cline. “This award exemplifies teamwork, resolve, and commitment to excellence of Shark Nation.”
The Institutional Academic Award is presented annually to the NEC member who attains the highest overall institutional grade-point average amongst student-athletes competing in sports sponsored by the NCAA Division I conference. The NEC currently sponsors 23 sports: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s bowling, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, women’s swimming, men’s and women’s tennis and women’s volleyball.
2019-20 School-By-School GPAs
School NEC Sports Overall GPA
Bryant 21 3.455
Central Connecticut 16 3.229
Fairleigh Dickinson 18 3.443
LIU 22 3.489
Merrimack 21 3.353
Mount St. Mary’s 20 3.311
Robert Morris 13 3.427
Sacred Heart 23 3.453
St. Francis Brooklyn 17 3.306
Saint Francis U 20 3.482
Wagner 20 3.432
The NEC also recognized those teams that compiled the highest GPA in their respective sports. LIU claimed an NEC-best six Team GPA awards, while Wagner earned four and Sacred Heart and Saint Francis U took home three apiece.
NEC women’s soccer student-athletes posted the highest overall grades of any sport in the Conference, combining for a 3.611 GPA. The 3.894 grade point average compiled by the Robert Morris women’s volleyball team was the highest in any sport this past academic year, edging out the 3.899 GPA recorded by the Saint Francis U women’s tennis team and the 3.860 GPA registered by both the FDU women’s golf and women’s tennis teams.
2019-20 NEC Team GPA Awards
Sport School GPA
Baseball Wagner 3.412
Men’s Basketball Bryant 3.270
Men’s Cross Country LIU 3.617
Football LIU 3.259
Men’s Golf St. Francis Brooklyn 3.745
Men’s Lacrosse Sacred Heart 3.480
Men’s Soccer Bryant 3.520
Men’s Tennis Saint Francis U 3.679
Men’s Indoor Track & Field LIU 3.523
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field LIU 3.523
Women’s Basketball Robert Morris 3.767
Women’s Bowling Sacred Heart 3.650
Women’s Cross Country Saint Francis U 3.686
Field Hockey Sacred Heart 3.665
Women’s Golf FDU 3.860
Women’s Lacrosse Wagner 3.634
Women’s Soccer FDU 3.810
Softball LIU 3.677
Women’s Swimming & Diving LIU 3.734
Women’s Tennis Saint Francis U 3.889
Women’s Indoor Track & Field Wagner 3.661
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Wagner 3.661
Women’s Volleyball Robert Morris 3.894
NEC Institutional Academic Award Winners
Year School GPA
2019-20 LIU 3.489
2018-19 Robert Morris 3.432
2017-18 Saint Francis U 3.423
2016-17 Sacred Heart 3.381
2015-16 Sacred Heart 3.331
2014-15 Sacred Heart/Wagner 3.279
2013-14 Robert Morris 3.295
2012-13 Wagner 3.305
2011-12 Robert Morris 3.279
2010-11 Saint Francis U 3.270
2009-10 Fairleigh Dickinson/Saint Francis U 3.239
2008-09 Saint Francis U 3.234
2007-08 Wagner 3.186
2006-07 Wagner 3.147
About The Northeast Conference
Now wrapping up its 39th year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 11 institutions of higher learning located throughout seven states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to a number of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Boston (#9), Pittsburgh (#24), Baltimore (#26), Hartford/New Haven (#33) and Providence (#53). Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 23 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic access to 16 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU, Merrimack, Mount St. Mary’s, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Francis U and Wagner. For more information on the NEC, visit the league’s official website (www.northeastconference.org) and digital network (www.necfrontrow.com), or follow the league on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, all @NECsports.