Dec. 8, 2011
Park Ridge, Ill. - The Big Ten led all conferences with seven student-athletes named to the Capital One Academic All-America first or second teams in football as announced today by CoSIDA. The Big Ten has now led all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences in Academic All-Americans for seven straight seasons, with 55 honorees over that time span.
The Big Ten's total of seven Academic All-Americans topped all conferences, as no other conference produced more than four honorees. The Big Ten also led all conferences with four first-team selections, followed by the Missouri Valley with three first-team honorees and the Big Sky, Mid-American and Southeastern conferences with two first-teamers each. Nebraska was one of only three schools with two first-team Academic All-Americans.
The Academic All-America first-team honorees from the Big Ten are the Nebraska duo of Rex Burkhead and Austin Cassidy, Northwestern's Patrick Ward and Purdue's Joe Holland. Cassidy was one of four players to earn first-team accolades for the second straight year while Holland was a second-team Academic All-American last season. The Big Ten's second-team All-Americans are Michigan State's Mike Sadler, Nebraska's Sean Fisher and Northwestern's Jacob Schmidt.
To be eligible for the award, a player must be in at least his second year of athletic eligibility, be a first-team or key performer and carry a cumulative 3.30 grade point average (GPA).