DURHAM, N.C. - The National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) awarded Duke junior volleyball player Becci Burling its "Academic Momentum Award" in conjunction with its Scholar-Baller® Initiative, which is a program that recognizes collegiate student-athletes who display excellence off the court in the community and classroom.
Burling was one of 10 female student-athletes selected for the national award and represented the Southeast Region along with NC State basketball player Amber White. A 6-1 junior middle blocker, Burling majors in Psychology and Biological Anthropology & Anatomy and has emerged as one of the ACC's best at her position in 2009. A native of Monument, Colo. (Lewis-Palmer), Burling has made tremendous strides on the court and in the classroom since enrolling in 2007.
Established in 1995, the Scholar-Baller® movement evolved in response to concerns that the student-athlete's athletic role increasingly superseded the student role. In order to address this issue, the founding members of Scholar-Baller® developed a groundbreaking program to bridge the gap between education and sport utilizing student-athletes' passion for entertainment and athletics. As a result, the Scholar-Baller® program has produced unprecedented outcomes in student retention and academic achievement.
Winning nominations included stories of: improving from a 0.5 GPA to a 3.14 GPA while actively committing to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program; making the Dean's list with 18 hours and increasing GPA by 2.09 points; raising thousands of dollars for a non-profit for families with children with pediatric brain tumors while steadily improving GPA each term; and battling a learning disability, breaking a school record, and balancing two summer jobs to cover financial obligations not included in the scholarship package.
The NCAS is an ever-growing organization of colleges and universities that provides opportunities for current and former student-athletes to continue their pursuit of higher education, while working in the community with children to address social issues. Established in 1985, the overall mission of the NCAS is "to create a better society by focusing on educational attainment and using the power appeal of sport to positively affect social change."
The names, schools, majors, sports, hometowns and NCAS regions of the female Academic Momentum Award winners are: Nicole Haines (tied), West Chester University, Health & Physical Education, Lacrosse, West Chester, PA, Mid-Atlantic; Jenifer Anzivino (tied), Rutgers University, Communication, Soccer, Belford, NJ, Mid-Atlantic; Erin Clark, University of Illinois at Chicago, English, Track & Field, Forrest, IL, Midwest; Jaclyn Lyons, University of Massachusetts, Sociology, Rocky Point, NY, New England; Nicole Kerrison, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Biology, Track & Field, Yonkers, NY, Northeast; Aysha Jamani, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Business Administration, Soccer, Calgary, Alberta, Rocky Mountain; Jazmyn Shorter, University of Kentucky, Kinesiology & Health Promotion, Track & Field, St. Petersburg, FL, South Central; Becci Burling (tied), Duke University, Psychology/Biological Anthropology & Anatomy, Volleyball, Monument, CO, Southeast; Amber White (tied), North Carolina State University, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Program Management, Basketball, Cartesville, PA, Southeast; and Clarissa Andrews, Oklahoma State University, Management, Track, Rockwell, TX, Southwest.
The names, schools, majors, sports, hometowns and NCAS regions of the male Academic Momentum Award winners are Adrian Cannon (tied), University of Maryland, American Studies, Football, Pontiac, MI, Mid-Atlantic; Sekou Yansane (tied), Lehigh University, Sociology/Social Psychology, Football, Potomac, MD, Mid-Atlantic; J.P. Gavinski, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Community and Nonprofit Leadership, Basketball, Wisconsin, Dells, WI, Midwest; Jovan Belcher, University of Maine, Child & Family Development, Football, West Babylon, NY, New England; Daniel Benedetti, St. John's University, History, Baseball, Long Beach, CA, Northeast; Syd'Quan Thompson, University of California at Berkeley, Social Welfare, Football, Sacramento, CA, Pacific West; Kirkland Thornton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Economics, Track & Field, South Holland, IL, Rocky Mountain; Tone Belt, University of Louisville, Communication, Track & Field, Berkeley, WV, South Central; Tyler Grant Zimmerman, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Management & Society, Lacrosse, Cockeysville, MD, Southeast; Adron Tennell (tied), University of Oklahoma, Multidisciplinary Studies, Football, Irving, TX, Southwest; Marcus McGraw (tied), University of Houston, Health, Football, Arlington, TX, Southwest; and, Earl Mitchell, University of Arizona, Interdisciplinary Studies, Football, Houston, TX, Western.
Each honoree will receive a recognition certificate and authentic Scholar-Baller® patch. In addition, the winners of each region will receive a ThinkmanTM and ThinkwomanTM Trophy for their academic performances.