Aug 25, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
As the University of Alabama begins the new academic year, the Crimson Tide athletics department finds itself coming off another banner year in the classroom.
Alabama's more than 550 student-athletes averaged over a 3.0 grade point average for the 2012-13 academic year, including 51 that maintained a career GPA of 4.0. Seven teams posted cumulative GPAs above 3.5 for the year, marking the third year in a row that at least five teams have met that standard. Overall, 14 teams earned GPAs over 3.0 for the season.
More than 130 student-athletes earned their degrees during the 2012-13 academic year. The latest numbers find that Alabama graduates 70 percent of its student-athletes while the general student population graduates at a rate of 67 percent.
There were 17 graduates on Alabama football's roster when it won the 2012 national championship. The Tide set the BCS National Championship Game record in 2009 at 22. All together, the Crimson Tide's last three national football championship teams (2009, 2011 and 2012) featured 60 players who had earned their degrees before the BCS Championship Game even got underway. The 2012 football squad also had the third highest graduation rate among schools in the final 2012 BCS top 10 and has posted the second highest graduation rate in the SEC each of the past four years.
The Southeastern Conference led the nation in Capital One Academic All-American honors again this year and the Crimson Tide once again led the SEC, tallying eight honors overall, including a league-best five first-team honors. The Tide's 2012-13 Academic All-Americans include Barrett Jones, football; Kayla Braud, softball; Kaila Hunt, softball; Kim Jacob, gymnastics; Stephanie Meadow, women's golf; Toni Foehse - women's tennis; Cory Whitsett, men's golf and Alexis Paine, women's track and field. Alabama was one of just three teams in the nation with more than seven Academic All-Americans.
Since 2000, Alabama is fifth among NCAA Division I schools and first in the SEC when it comes to Academic All-American honors with 78. The Tide's eight honors in 2013 also pushed Alabama to a total of 114 all-time, which places the Tide in the top-20 all-time among all NCAA schools and in the top 12 among Division I schools.
Football All-American Barrett Jones led the way for the Crimson Tide in the classroom last year. A four-year starting offensive lineman, he was a part of three BCS national championship teams, playing three different positions. A team captain in 2012, he was a four-time Capital One Academic All-America selection - the first athlete in Alabama football history to accomplish that feat - and was named the 2013 CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American of the Year.
Jones is the second Alabama athlete in a row to lead the nation's Academic All-American teams, following women's golfer Brooke Pancake who was the 2012 CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American of the Year.
Jones was also the 2012 recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the top scholar-athlete in college football. He was a two-time SEC Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a member of the President's List, the Dean's List, the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was a Capstone Scholar.
Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce and business administration in August 2011 and earned a Master of Accountancy in December 2012, both with 4.0 grade point averages. He has been inducted into numerous honor societies, including Phi Eta Sigma, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Golden Key Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta, Sigma Alpha Lambda, Omicron Delta Kappa, the Blue Key Society, the Anderson Society and Phi Kappa Phi.
Pancake, who closed out her tenure at the Capstone by leading Alabama to the 2012 NCAA Women's Golf Championship, capped her stellar career by earning the prestigious NCAA Top X award in January 2013. The award is given annually to the top 10 senior student-athletes among all NCAA sports, regardless of division or gender, for their accomplishments in athletics, academics and in the community. She is the 11th Alabama student-athlete and the eighth over the last decade to earn the honor, which is considered the highest individual accolade the NCAA bestows on a student-athlete.
Kim Jacob (gymnastics), Cory Whitsett (women's golf) and Emily Zabor (women's tennis) earned the NCAA's Elite 89 accolade during the 2012-13 academic year. The NCAA Elite 89 is awarded to the athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average at each NCAA Championship. Alabama ranks second nationally in Elite 89 honors with 10 in the award's first four years while Stanford leads the nation with 11.
On a conference level, Jones was named the male 2012-13 Southeastern Conference H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year, earning a $15,000 postgraduate scholarship in the process. He is the eighth Alabama student-athlete to earn the award since gymnast Julie Estin brought home the first honor in 1987.
Jones was also one of six Alabama student-athletes named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for their respective sports, giving Alabama the most honors of any school in the league. He was joined by Kim Jacob (gymnastics), Daniil Proskura (men's tennis), Cory Whitsett (men's golf), Stephanie Meadows (women's golf) and Antonia Foehse (women's tennis). Both UA teams that won national championships in 2012-13 - football and men's golf - had an athlete named the league's top scholar for that sport. Jacob and Jones won the award for the second time.
Alabama was also prolific when it came to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, earning the accolade 256 times during the 2012-13 academic year. The Crimson Tide had 42, 48 and 67 student-athletes named to the SEC Fall, Winter and Spring Academic Honor Rolls and 89 named to the First-Year Academic Honor Roll. Alabama football had 38 players named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll in 2012, which added to the conference record 38 the Tide had in 2011 makes for a two-year total of 67.
With the 2013-14 academic year underway, competition has begun as well, starting with soccer's season opener at Wake Forest on Sunday, Aug. 25. The Tide's first home event is on Friday, Aug., 30 when soccer takes on Georgia State at 7 p.m.