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Sacred Heart and Wagner Share 2014-15 Northeast Conference Institutional Academic Award

NEC Student-Athletes Combine For Record-High 3.19 Overall GPA

6/24/2015

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Somerset, NJ -- The parity on the field of play extended all the way to the classroom this past year in the Northeast Conference (NEC).  As NEC student-athletes enjoyed a record-setting academic year, the race for the 2014-15 NEC Institutional Academic Award proved to be a photo finish.  In fact, it was a dead heat as Sacred Heart and Wagner student-athletes finished with identical 3.279 grade point averages to share the coveted honor.  The Pioneers and Seahawks edged out Saint Francis U (3.251) and LIU Brooklyn (3.235) for the top spot.

Ironically, this wasn’t the first time two NEC institutions shared the award.  Back in 2009-10, Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis U both ended the year with matching 3.239 GPAs.

Wagner won its fourth NEC Institutional Academic Award, the most of any conference institution.  Sacred Heart claimed the award for the first time.

Overall, the NEC’s 4,000+ student-athletes averaged a record-high 3.186 GPA for the 2014-15 academic year.  Similarly, 76.1 percent of NEC teams finished with a 3.0 or better GPA.

“I’m so proud and honored to lead a conference where breaking records in the classroom is celebrated with as much, or even more, excitement than breaking records on the field of play,” said Noreen Morris, NEC Commissioner.  “And NEC student-athletes have a lot to celebrate this year, as their collective hard work and dedication resulted in a record-high 3.19 overall GPA year.  Congratulations to both Sacred Heart and Wagner for leading the way with identical 3.279 GPAs.  They have set the bar extremely high for future NEC student-athletes to come!”

Sacred Heart not only improved on its 3.221 GPA from a year ago, but the 3.279 figure represented the third-highest GPA for an institution since the award was first established during the 2006-07 academic year.  Of the 22 Pioneer teams that compete in the NEC, 20 recorded a GPA in excess of 3.0, led by the women’s cross country and women’s golf teams with a program-best 3.580 mark.  Likewise, 15 Sacred Heart teams posted a least a 3.20 GPA on the year.

“It is extremely important to all of us at Sacred Heart University that our student-athletes excel at academics as well as in their chosen sports,” said Dr. John Petillo, Sacred Heart University President.  “That our student-athletes are among the NEC leaders in GPA is a credit to their hard work as well as the balance that is encouraged by their coaches.  This recognition means as much as any championship.  Congratulations to our students and the student-athletes at Wagner.”
“Congratulations to all of the nearly 800 student-athletes that comprise our Department of Athletics,” said Bobby Valentine, Sacred Heart Executive Director of Athletics.  “The hard work and commitment to their academic pursuits is inspirational and truly shows their dedication to being student-athletes.  This honor would not be possible without the support of the faculty and staff of Sacred Heart University, and I extend a heartfelt thank you to them for their dedication.”

Wagner was previously honored in the 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2012-13 academic years.  The Seahawks established the NEC all-time GPA mark when Green & White student-athletes combined to post a 3.305 during the 2012-13 season.  In NEC sponsored sports this past year, Wagner saw 17 of its 19 teams compile a 3.0 or better GPA with 12 of them achieving at least a 3.20 GPA.

“I am so pleased with dedication of the young men and woman of the Wagner athletic program,” said Dr. Richard Guarasci, Wagner College President.  “They are engaged students and active participants in making a difference in the lives of so many who are denied the opportunities that they have available to them.  Our students excel as students, citizens and athletes.”

“I am extremely proud that the hard work and dedication of our student-athletes in the classroom is being recognized in this way,” said Walt Hameline, Wagner Director of Athletics.  “I salute them on their academic accomplishments and for receiving this prestigious honor for the fourth time in this award’s nine-year history.”

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 22 sports: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s bowling, men’s and women’s cross country, 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.

2014-15 School-By-School GPAs

School                NEC Sports    Overall GPA
Bryant                    21           3.129
Central Connecticut       18           3.099
Fairleigh Dickinson       18           3.163
LIU Brooklyn              17           3.235
Mount St. Mary’s          16           2.983
Robert Morris             13           3.196
Sacred Heart              22           3.279
St. Francis Brooklyn      16           3.204
Saint Francis U           20           3.251
Wagner                    19           3.279


The NEC also recognized those teams that compiled the highest GPA in their respective sports.  Wagner claimed an NEC-best seven Team GPA awards, while Sacred Heart had four teams honored, along with three apiece for St. Francis Brooklyn and Saint Francis U.

NEC women’s golf student-athletes posted the highest overall grades of any sport in the Conference, combining for a 3.512 GPA.  Likewise, the 3.94 grade point average compiled by the LIU Brooklyn women’s golf team set a new NEC record for highest single-season GPA since the Conference started tracking on a sport-by-sport basis back in 2006-07.

Sacred Heart baseball and football, along with St. Francis Brooklyn women’s basketball not only captured NEC championships, but also registered the highest team GPA in their respective sports.

2014-15 NEC Team GPA Awards

Sport                            School                   GPA
Baseball                         Sacred Heart             3.271
Men’s Basketball                 Fairleigh Dickinson      2.978
Women’s Basketball               St. Francis Brooklyn     3.613
Women’s Bowling                  St. Francis Brooklyn     3.525
Men’s Cross Country              Wagner                   3.342
Women’s Cross Country            Saint Francis U          3.658
Football                         Sacred Heart             2.970
Men’s Golf                       Fairleigh Dickinson      3.562
Women’s Golf                     LIU Brooklyn             3.940
Men’s Indoor Track & Field       Wagner                   3.193
Women’s Indoor Track & Field     Saint Francis U          3.518
Men’s Lacrosse                   Wagner                   3.265
Women’s Lacrosse                 Sacred Heart             3.461
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field      Wagner                   3.193
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field    Saint Francis U          3.518
Men’s Soccer                     Robert Morris            3.191
Women’s Soccer                   Wagner                   3.557
Softball                         Wagner                   3.583
Women’s Swimming & Diving        St. Francis Brooklyn     3.543
Men’s Tennis                     Sacred Heart             3.547
Women’s Tennis                   Wagner                   3.541
Women’s Volleyball               Robert Morris            3.564


NEC Institutional Academic Award Winners

Year       School                                 GPA
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 34th year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to four of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Pittsburgh (#23), Baltimore (#27), and Hartford/New Haven (#30).  Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 22 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic access to 14 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn, 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 Google+, all @NECsports.