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The Official Site of the Northeast Conference


Sacred Heart Repeats As Northeast Conference Institutional Academic Award Winner

NEC Student-Athletes Combine For Record-High 3.20 Overall GPA


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Somerset, NJ -- It was a record-setting year in the classroom for the Northeast Conference (NEC) in more ways than one.

In winning its second consecutive NEC Institutional Academic Award, Sacred Heart student-athletes posted a combined 3.331 grade point average to set a new conference record. The Pioneers edged out Saint Francis U (3.289), Robert Morris (3.270) and LIU Brooklyn (3.269) to claim the coveted honor.

Overall, the NEC’s 4,000+ student-athletes averaged an all-time high 3.201 GPA for the 2015-16 academic year. Similarly, 84.0 percent of NEC teams finished with a 3.0 or better GPA.

“I’m thrilled to congratulate Sacred Heart on an impressive record-setting 3.331 overall GPA for its student-athletes,” said Noreen Morris, NEC Commissioner. “And I’m equally proud to announce that all NEC student-athletes earned a record-high 3.201 GPA. Congratulations to our student-athletes, coaches and administration for their continued commitment and dedication to their academic and athletic pursuits!”

Sacred Heart broke the single-year GPA record that was set by Wagner back in 2012-13. That year, Seahawk teams posted a 3.305 GPA.

Of the 22 Sacred Heart teams that competed in NEC sponsored sports, 20 of them compiled a 3.0 or better GPA and 18 of those teams registered at least a 3.20 GPA on the year. The Pioneers won a pair of NEC Team GPA awards in men’s and women’s lacrosse.

Sacred Heart’s success was not limited to the classroom. The Pioneers won the NEC Commissioner’s Cup for overall athletic excellence as well as the NEC Building Communities Award for their dedication to making an impact in the community. SHU also won a league-high five NEC Team Sportsmanship Awards this past year.

“I was proud when our student-athletes earned the Brenda Weare Commissioner’s Cup, and I am even more today,” said Dr. John J. Petillo, Sacred Heart University President. “The announcement that our student-athletes have earned the NEC Institutional Academic Award is the crowning achievement of a banner year for SHU Athletics.”

“Our student-athletes continue to prove that they are dedicated to being students first and foremost and this award is a testament to their hard work,” said Bobby Valentine, Sacred Heart Executive Director of Athletics. “I continue to be impressed by what our Pioneer student-athletes are able to achieve in all areas and am honored to be associated with these fine young men and women.”

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.

2015-16 School-By-School GPAs

School                    NEC Sports    Overall GPA
Bryant                        21           3.179
Central Connecticut           18           2.960    
Fairleigh Dickinson           18           3.232
LIU Brooklyn                  18           3.269
Mount St. Mary’s              16           3.020
Robert Morris                 13           3.270
Sacred Heart                  22           3.331
St. Francis Brooklyn          16           3.176
Saint Francis U               20           3.289
Wagner                        19           3.243

The NEC also recognized those teams that compiled the highest GPA in their respective sports. LIU Brooklyn and Saint Francis U claimed an NEC-best six Team GPA awards apiece, while Wagner had four teams honored.

NEC women’s bowling student-athletes posted the highest overall grades of any sport in the Conference, combining for a 3.572 GPA. The 3.818 grade point average compiled by the LIU Brooklyn women’s tennis team was the highest in any sport this past academic year.

Fairleigh Dickinson men’s basketball and LIU Brooklyn men’s soccer not only captured NEC championships, but also registered the highest team GPA in those sports.

2015-16 NEC Team GPA Awards

Sport                            School                          GPA
Baseball                         LIU Brooklyn                    3.257
Men’s Basketball                 Fairleigh Dickinson             3.001
Women’s Basketball               St. Francis Brooklyn            3.706
Women’s Bowling                  LIU Brooklyn                    3.709
Men’s Cross Country              Saint Francis U                 3.473
Women’s Cross Country            Saint Francis U                 3.701
Football                         Wagner                          3.014
Men’s Golf                       LIU Brooklyn                    3.514
Women’s Golf                     Central Connecticut             3.660
Men’s Indoor Track & Field       Wagner                          3.382
Women’s Indoor Track & Field     Saint Francis U                 3.585
Men’s Lacrosse                   Sacred Heart                    3.270
Women’s Lacrosse                 Sacred Heart                    3.520
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field      Wagner                          3.382
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field    Saint Francis U                 3.585
Men’s Soccer                     LIU Brooklyn                    3.315
Women’s Soccer                   Central Connecticut             3.510
Softball                         Saint Francis U                 3.552
Women’s Swimming & Diving        Wagner                          3.568
Men’s Tennis                     Saint Francis U                 3.569
Women’s Tennis                   LIU Brooklyn                    3.818
Women’s Volleyball               LIU Brooklyn                    3.723

NEC Institutional Academic Award Winners

Year       School                                    GPA
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 35th 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 Google+, all @NECsports.