As the winter term of the 2008-09 school year comes to a close, the Big Ten recognizes a total of 519 winter sports athletes who have been named to the Academic All-Conference Team. The list of honored student-athletes features 40 men’s and 46 women’s basketball players, 44 men’s and 52 women’s gymnasts, 113 men’s and 156 women’s swimming and diving athletes and 68 wrestlers. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
At least five Big Ten student-athletes have maintained unblemished GPAs. A trio of swimming and diving team members boast 4.0 GPAs in Illinois’ Ann Miller (So., Food Science and Human Nutrition) and Sean Moore (Sr., Pre-Business) and Purdue’s Christine Inman (Jr., Animal Science). In men’s basketball, Northwestern’s Sterling Williams (Gr., Communication Studies) has earned a perfect GPA. Ohio State’s Alyssa Meyer (Sr., Exercise Science) has maintained a 4.0 as a member of the women’s gymnastics team.
The Big Ten Academic All-Conference award winners also achieved excellence outside of the classroom. In women’s gymnastics, Penn State’s Brandi Personett (Jr., Nursing) earned Gymnast of the Year accolades. In women’s swimming and diving, Indiana’s Christine Loukas (Sr., Exercise Science) was named the Diver of the Year and shared Diver of the Championships honors with Purdue’s Ashley Karnes (Jr., Didactic Dietetics) while Minnesota’s Jenny Shaughnessy (Sr., Biology) garnered Swimmer of the Championships laurels. Northwestern’s Jake Herbert (Sr., Communication Studies) was tabbed the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year while Iowa’s Brent Metcalf (Jr., Sociology) earned his second straight Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships accolade.
The conference office will also present the newly created Distinguished Scholar Award at the end of the academic year. Student-athletes eligible for the Distinguished Scholar Award must be letterwinners in at least their second year in residence at their institution. Qualifying student-athletes must have earned a GPA of 3.7 or higher for the current academic year, excluding summer school. The 3.7 GPA benchmark was designed to include the top 10 percent of all eligible student-athletes. The Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award was established by conference Faculty Representatives as an addition to the conference’s Academic All-Big Ten program. The first recipients will be honored prior to the fall of 2009, based on their GPAs from the 2008-09 academic year.
The 2008-09 Winter Academic All-Big Ten selections are listed below by school, along with the number of winter sports sponsored by each university: