BRENTWOOD - The Jacksonville State football program can add another achievement from last season as the Gamecocks were awarded the Ohio Valley Conference Team Academic Achievement Award in the sport of football, announced by the league on Wednesday.
After claiming the 2014 OVC Championship on the field, the program excelled in the classroom as well. The Team Academic Achievement Awards are presented annually in each Conference-sponsored sport to the member institution's team with the greatest percentage of its eligible student-athletes who achieved a 3.25 grade point average or higher.
"I'm so proud of our players and our staff, especially our academic staff," said head coach John Grass. "The demands our players go through with practice, travel and playing the games, they do not have the study time a normal student has and it takes a lot of work and I'm just so proud of what our guys have accomplished."
JSU placed 28 football student-athletes on the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll, which includes all student-athletes that have at least a 3.25 GPA, who have been eligible and on the team throughout the competitive season and used a season of competition in their chosen NCAA-sponsored sport or sports.
"I think it speaks volumes about the type of student-athletes that Coach Grass and his staff are recruiting to play football for the Gamecocks," said interim athletic director Greg Seitz. "Our football student-athletes finished with a 3.095 grade point average for the last academic year in the classroom, and went a perfect 8-0 in the OVC to win the school's 19th conference championship on the field. JSU was champions in the classroom and also on the field on competition."
The Gamecock football team's 3.045 GPA last fall marks the first-time in school history the sport finished above a 3.0. As a matter of fact, the football team's GPA has improved from a 2.585 in 2012 to the all-time high mark set during the previous fall. Last spring, the Gamecock football team accumulated a 3.144 and finished the academic year with a mark of 3.0955.
Two Gamecocks achieved OVC Academic Medal of Honor, which recognizes student-athletes who earn a 4.0 grade point average. Sophomore Justin Lea and junior Dalton Screws maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout the 2014-15 academic year.