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USU Athletics: Utah State finishes second in Mountain West Academic honorees

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 17 2014 4:29 p.m. MDT

With 242 student-athletes recognized for their academic efforts during 2013-14, Utah State finishes the academic year in second place among all Mountain West Conference programs.

In its first year as a member of the Mountain West, 160 student-athletes received academic all-Mountain West honors and 82 were named Mountain West Scholar-Athletes.

“The Mountain West Conference is a step up not only with regard to athletic competition, but academic as well," Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Services Dr. Brian Evans said. "It’s a challenge to stay near the top academically, but our student-athletes have again met the challenge and are excelling in the classroom.”

New Mexico claimed the first-place spot with 298 total academic recognitions, followed by USU's 242 recipients. Boise State was third with 227 accolades, followed by Colorado State (211), Fresno State (189), UNLV (169), Nevada (161), Wyoming (156), San José State (146), Air Force (130) and San Diego State (126).

To qualify for the all-conference academic teams, student-athletes must post a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and participate in at least 50 percent of the team's games. The Mountain West Scholar-Athlete Award is one of the highest academic honors bestowed by the MWC. To be eligible for selection, student-athletes must have completed at least two academic terms at the member institution, maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better and have participated in varsity competition in a Mountain West sponsored sport.

The women's track and cross-country programs combined for the most academic recognitions among USU teams with 68, followed by men's track and cross-country with 52. Soccer was third with 31, followed by football (27), softball (13), volleyball (12), golf (9), women's tennis (9), women's basketball (8), men's tennis (8) and men's basketball (5).

Prior to this season, Utah State led the Western Athletic Conference in number of academic all-league honorees for eight-straight years. Overall, Utah State has had the most academic all-league honorees 14 times in the past 16 years, as it led the Big West Conference in 2000 and 2002-05. In 2001, the Aggies ranked second in the Big West in academic selections, creating a tradition of excellent academics at Utah State.

Utah State is currently ranked second in graduation success rate among Mountain West schools with a current rate of 84 percent. Aggie student-athletes have a cumulative 3.17 GPA and 89 student-athletes graduate this school year.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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