Dec. 13, 2011
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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Student-athletes on the football and basketball teams at UCF continue to excel in the classroom. This fall semester, seventy-four student-athletes on the football team, five student-athletes on the men's basketball team, and seven student-athletes on the women's basketball team were recognized as "scholar-ballers®" for their academic performance. Male student-athletes with at least a 3.0 semester or cumulative GPA received a ThinkMan® uniform patch or helmet sticker. Women student-athletes with at least a 3.0 semester or cumulative GPA received a ThinkWoman® jersey patch.
Kimya Massey, Director of Academic Services for Student-Athletes, continues to emphasize the importance of academic success and competing academically. For example, each week student-athletes are required to attend ten hours of study hall where the student-athletes are tutored by Graduate Assistants and over 15 UCF student tutors. Student-athletes at UCF understand the importance of balancing playbooks with textbooks. As explained by Brandon Bryant, a scholar-baller on the football team, "You have to perform in the classroom in order to give yourself a chance to perform on the playing field and in life. Scholar Baller is a great program because it helps motivate you to want to do well in both areas." Quincy McDuffie, another scholar-baller on the football team, also emphasizes the importance of academic prowess: "Academics plays a major role in many student-athletes' lives; it's the foundation for us all. It holds our true potential and capability of us fulfilling our future goals."
Scholar Baller® is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 1995. Dr. C. Keith Harrison is the Founder and President of Scholar Baller, and is also an Associate Professor for the DeVos Sport Business Management Program in the College of Business Administration at UCF. The mission of Scholar Baller is to inspire youth and young adults to develop leadership skills and to excel in education and life by using their cultural interests in sport and entertainment. The vision of Scholar Baller is to systematically recognize and reward all student-athletes who excel academically in order to further their academic and personal development.
Scholar Baller has developed culturally relevant educational and incentive-based programs at the middle school, high school and college levels to help bridge the gap between education, sport and popular culture. Scholar Baller has collaborated with over 50 colleges and universities to "make school cool" and to create a new mindset among student-athletes in terms of their perceptions about education, sport and career aspirations. Scholar Baller works with NCAA Division I schools, as well as numerous Junior Colleges and Historically Black Colleges & Universities.
Dr. Harrison recently reflected on the accomplishments UCF has had this semester: "While we have numerous Scholar Baller schools across the nation, to have UCF Knights scholar-ballers at my home institution is truly fulfilling. I would like to first thank Coach Joi Williams (who was the first coach at UCF to participate in Scholar Baller), Coach George O'Leary (who keeps the grades of the football players on his desk), and Coach Donnie Jones (who has allowed me full access). The continuous effort by the coaches and athletes at UCF has combined to achieve greatness both in the classroom and on the court/field."