Making the Grade

October 31, 2018

Liberty University’s NCAA Division I student-athletes continue to score high marks on the field and in the classroom.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the women’s volleyball, women’s cross country, and women’s tennis programs were each recognized by the NCAA for their Academic Progress Rate (APR). All three programs posted an APR score that placed them among the top 10 percent in the country in their specific sport.

For the last five years, Liberty student-athletes have earned the nation’s highest academic distinction, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America award. The 2017-18 award went to Alicia Finnigan, a senior on the women’s swimming & diving team, and Hunter Winstead, a redshirt senior on last year’s football team.

Finnigan was also named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America Women’s At-Large second team as announced by CoSIDA. She is the fifth Liberty female student-athlete to earn Academic All-America at-large honors. Finnigan is one of 35 members of the team to earn a 4.0 GPA or higher. In total, 10 swimming & diving student-athletes made the squad, headlined by five-time Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky of Stanford.

Liberty student-athletes were also recognized at the state level by earning spots on the 2017-18 Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Academic All-State Team. They include Finnigan, Winstead, Graham Hansel (track & field and cross country), Jovaine Atkinson (track & field), Evangeline Crist (tennis), and Molly Reagan (basketball).

In Liberty’s final year in the Big South Conference, a total of 272 student-athletes earned Big South Presidential Honor Roll distinction. Thirty-one Liberty student-athletes maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA for the year. In May, Hansel was honored with the Big South Conference’s prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence, given annually to one male and one female student-athlete who attain the highest GPA during their college careers.

During the 2017-18 academic year, 10 of Liberty’s 20 NCAA Division I athletics programs posted a 100 percent student-athlete graduation success rate (GSR). As a whole, Liberty Athletics finished with an 87 percent (GSR), matching the NCAA average.

Liberty Academic Affairs for Athletics equips student-athletes with the resources necessary to succeed in their degree programs. Student-athletes have a wide range of resources available to them in the new Liberty Athletics Center, which opened in November 2017. The world-class facility features two open learning environments, a tech lab, two smart classrooms, multiple tutorial and group study rooms, multiple areas for specific study, and a student-athlete development center.

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