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The Official Site of the Northeast Conference


Sacred Heart Three-Peats As Northeast Conference Institutional Academic Award Winner

NEC Student-Athletes Combine For Record-High 3.24 Overall GPA


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Somerset, NJ -- It was yet another record-setting year in the classroom for the Northeast Conference (NEC) student-athletes.

In claiming its third straight NEC Institutional Academic Award, Sacred Heart broke its own single-year conference record with a combined 3.381 grade point average. The Pioneers narrowly edged out Robert Morris (3.378) and Saint Francis U (3.368) for the prestigious honor. These represent the three highest academic year GPAs in NEC history. A year ago, SHU student-athletes recorded a 3.331 GPA to set a new league mark.

Overall, the NEC’s 4,000+ student-athletes shattered the league’s all-time record with a combined 3.239 GPA for the 2016-17 academic year. All ten NEC institutions finished the year with over a 3.0 GPA and 80.0 percent of NEC teams posted a 3.0 or better GPA.

“It is my honor to crown Sacred Heart as the NEC Institutional Academic Award winner,” said Noreen Morris, NEC Commissioner. “To set a new conference standard with a 3.381 overall GPA is truly a remarkable achievement and indicative of the culture that has been built at SHU. Likewise, it’s impressive to see NEC student-athletes raise the bar and reach new heights in the classroom with a record-setting 3.239 GPA. To be dedicated to your craft, engaged in the community and successful in the classroom is a testament to the diligent work put in by those student-athletes, and the year-round support they receive from coaches and administrators.”

Of the 22 Sacred Heart teams that competed in NEC sponsored sports, 21 of them compiled a 3.0 or better GPA and nine of those teams registered at least a 3.50 GPA on the year. The Pioneers won a league-high eight NEC Team GPA awards in baseball, men’s basketball, football, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and softball.

The Institutional Academic Award caps off yet another remarkable all-around year for Sacred Heart. The Pioneers won a record seventh NEC Commissioner’s Cup for overall athletic excellence as repeated as the NEC Building Communities Award winner for their dedication to making an impact in the community. 

“My sincere congratulations to our SHU student-athletes on earning a third consecutive NEC Institutional Academic Award,” said Dr. John J. Petillo, Sacred Heart University President. “We are quite proud of the success these young men and women are having in the classroom, in the community and in the athletic venue.”

“The announcement of our student-athletes posting a record GPA to earn this honor for a third consecutive year is a perfect ending to a record-setting year,” said SHU Director of Athletics Bobby Valentine. “They continue to move the bar higher in the classroom, in the community and in their athletic pursuits.”

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.

2016-17 School-By-School GPAs

School                    NEC Sports    Overall GPA
Bryant                        20           3.209
Central Connecticut           18           3.039   
Fairleigh Dickinson           18           3.211
LIU Brooklyn                  18           3.319
Mount St. Mary’s              16           3.136
Robert Morris                 13           3.378
Sacred Heart                  22           3.381
St. Francis Brooklyn          16           3.071
Saint Francis U               20           3.368
Wagner                        19           3.250

The NEC also recognized those teams that compiled the highest GPA in their respective sports. Sacred Heart claimed an NEC-best eight Team GPA awards apiece, followed by Saint Francis U with five teams honored.

NEC women’s volleyball student-athletes posted the highest overall grades of any sport in the Conference, combining for a 3.506 GPA. The 3.724 grade point average compiled by the Robert Morris women’s basketball team was the highest in any sport this past academic year.

Robert Morris women’s basketball and Saint Francis U women’s cross country not only captured NEC championships, but also registered the highest team GPA in those sports.

2016-17 NEC Team GPA Awards

Sport                            School                          GPA
Baseball                         Sacred Heart                    3.237
Men’s Basketball                 Sacred Heart                    2.918
Women’s Basketball               Robert Morris                   3.724
Women’s Bowling                  LIU Brooklyn                    3.664
Men’s Cross Country              Saint Francis U                 3.564
Women’s Cross Country            Saint Francis U                 3.647
Football                         Sacred Heart                    3.097
Men’s Golf                       Wagner                          3.510
Women’s Golf                     Wagner                          3.690
Men’s Indoor Track & Field       Bryant & Sacred Heart           3.190
Women’s Indoor Track & Field     Saint Francis U                 3.663
Men’s Lacrosse                   Sacred Heart                    3.253
Women’s Lacrosse                 Sacred Heart                    3.512
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field      Bryant & Sacred Heart           3.190
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field    Saint Francis U                 3.663
Men’s Soccer                     LIU Brooklyn                    3.450
Women’s Soccer                   Robert Morris                   3.635
Softball                         Sacred Heart                    3.604
Women’s Swimming & Diving        Saint Francis U                 3.462
Men’s Tennis                     Fairleigh Dickinson             3.695
Women’s Tennis                   Fairleigh Dickinson             3.700
Women’s Volleyball               Bryant                          3.640

NEC Institutional Academic Award Winners

Year       School                                    GPA
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 36th 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 ( and digital network (, or follow the league on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, all @NECsports.