Lincoln - Husker student-athletes added another chapter to the University of Nebraska’s growing tradition as a national academic leader in 2005-06. Nebraska’s academic success reached new heights, as the Huskers brought home a Big 12-leading 11 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards, including seven first-team honors during the 2005-06 campaign to increase NU’s collegiate record total of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans to 233, a total of 57 more than the second-place school on the list.

Nebraska student-athletes also claimed 126 Academic All-Big 12 selections across all sports, including 103 first-team Academic All-Big 12 honorees. NU student-athletes also earned 479 spots on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Fall and Spring Academic Honor Rolls. To earn a spot on the honor roll, a student-athlete must earn a 3.0 grade-point average during the semester. During the fall and spring semesters combined, a Big 12-leading 72 Husker student-athletes produced perfect 4.0 semester GPAs.

The University of Nebraska Athletic Department took one special night to honor its own student-athletes on April 23 at the 16th annual Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet. Approximately 650 people were in attendance at the Bob Devaney Sports Center to see nearly 200 student-athletes honored during the banquet, including Male Student-Athlete-of-the-Year Aaron Plas and Female Student-Athlete-of-the-Year Ashley Selig, both from the Nebraska track and field team.

Selig, a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American as a nutrition, health and exercise science major, is one of the top all-around athletes in the nation. Not only does the Lincoln native carry a 3.656 cumulative GPA in the classroom, she claimed the 2005 indoor pentathlon national title and is a five-time All-American in the multi-events. When she was not competing in the multi-events and excelling in the classroom, Selig served as the President of Nebraska’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Plas, who earned second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors with a 3.672 GPA as a business education major, was a three-time All-American as a high jumper for the Huskers. He was also the 2005 Big 12 outdoor high jump champion.

The Huskers also celebrated the addition of the NCAA-leading 15th NCAA Top Eight Award winner, as Richelle Simpson was presented with one of the NCAA’s top individual honors for student-athletes in January.

Nebraska men’s basketball player Bronsen Schliep earned a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, while joining Husker softball player Jessica Yoachim as winners of Dr. Prentice Gautt Big 12 Postgraduate Scholarships as well.

Coach Scott Jacobson’s women’s tennis team earned the department’s most coveted team award by capturing the 12th annual Herman Award. The women’s tennis squad, which also made its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, produced a stellar 3.607 team GPA. The women’s tennis team won the award for the second straight year. The cross country team earned the Herman Award on the men’s side with a 3.115 combined GPA in 2005, marking the fifth time the team has won the award, including each of the last four seasons.

The hard work, dedication and commitment of Nebraska’s student-athletes in the classroom resulted in 111 current or former student-athletes earning degrees from August of 2005 through May of 2006.

In fact, the Huskers continued to set the graduation standard among Big 12 Conference schools by increasing their Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rate to 93 percent. The Exhausted Eligibility Rate surveys the graduation rate of scholarship student-athletes who entered the University of Nebraska from 1989 through 1998 and exhausted their athletic eligibility at Nebraska.

Nebraska’s commitment to encouraging student-athletes to succeed off the field was honored on several occasions during the 2005-06 academic year. The National Consortium for Academics and Sport presented the University of Nebraska Athletic/Academic Center with two awards at its 2006 Giant Steps Awards Banquet in Orlando, Fla., in February. NU earned the Degree Completion Award and the Community Outreach Award for impacting the lives of more than 75,000 people during the year.

Most recently, the Husker football program was one of just 29 teams honored nationwide by the American Football Coaches Association with its 2006 Academic Achievement Award in May. Nebraska, which has earned the AFCA award five straight seasons, was recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of its football student-athletes from the freshman class of 2000-01.

Academic All-America Tradition 
Huskers Push Nation-Leading Total to 233
Earn 11 Award in 2005-06
Nebraska student-athletes brought home 11 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards during the 2005-06 campaign to increase Nebraska’s NCAA record total of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans to 233. Nebraska continues to lead the nation by an overwhelming margin, with 57 more CoSIDA Academic All-America awards than second-place Notre Dame.

Nebraska’s CoSIDA Academic All-America contingent included the second-highest number of first-team Academic All-Americans in school history with seven awards. Nebraska’s first-team Academic All-Americans in 2005-06 included Kurt Mann and Dane Todd (football), Christina Houghtelling and Sarah Pavan (volleyball), Brandon Buckman (baseball), Lizzy Aumua (softball) and Ashley Selig (track and field). Aaron Plas and Nate Probasco (track and field) added second-team Academic All-America honors, while KoKo Tacha (softball) and Jenny Green (track and field) contributed third-team Academic All-America awards.

The Huskers increased their nation-leading total of first-team All-Americans to an amazing 123 across all sports.

Seven of Nebraska’s 11 Academic All-Americans in 2005-06 will return to action for the Huskers next season, including Todd and Pavan who possess perfect 4.0 GPA’s during their academic careers at Nebraska. Mann, Houghtelling and Selig will also return to competition to give the Huskers five returning first-team Academic All-Americans in 2006-07. Probasco and Green will also return to the track and field team next season.

Nebraska’s 11 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans led the Big 12 Conference, as the Huskers produced nearly one-third of the Academic All-Americans across the conference, while nearly doubling the six Academic All-Americans from second-place Oklahoma within the league.

Academic All-Big 12 Conference 
126 Huskers Earn League Honors
Nebraska was one of four league schools to have more than 100 student-athletes honored on Academic All-Big 12 teams in 2005-06. The Huskers brought home 126 Academic All-Big 12 awards across all sports, including Big 12-leading totals of 22 in both football and women’s track and field.The women’s swimming and diving team also led the conference with 16 Academic All-Big 12 picks, while the men’s track and field team and the men’s basketball team tied for the league lead in their respective sports.

The total produced by Coach Bill Callahan’s Nebraska football team was particularly impressive compared with other league schools. Texas was the only other league school with 15 or more Academic All-Big 12 selections, and the Huskers’ 22 picks nearly matched the combined total of 24 from Missouri (6), Oklahoma (6), Oklahoma State (6) and Texas Tech (6).

The men’s and women’s track and field total of 37 Academic All-Big 12 awards surpassed the total of 35 Coach Gary Pepin’s programs earned a year ago, while the 16 awards for the women’s swimming and diving team marked the fifth consecutive season that Coach Pablo Morales’ program has increased or maintained its total from the previous year.

All five of Nebraska’s men’s basketball Academic All-Big 12 honors were first-team awards, matching Kansas for the league lead in both categories. Over the past three years, Coach Barry Collier’s program has set the standard throughout the conference, producing a league-leading 16 first-team Academic All-Big 12 awards. Kansas ranks second among league schools with nine first-team honorees over the past three seasons.

Among the 126 NU student-athletes named to Academic All-Big 12 teams, 103 earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors, which requires a 3.20 grade-point average or higher and a minimum participation requirement. Missouri was the only other school in the conference to put more than 100 student-athletes on various first-team Academic All-Big 12 teams. Twenty-three other Husker student-athletes grabbed second-team honors by posting a GPA between 3.0 and 3.19.

Overall, Nebraska had 479 student-athletes honored on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll during the fall and spring semesters combined, including a Big 12-leading 72 student-athletes who posted perfect 4.0 GPA semesters in either the fall or spring.

Coach John Cook’s Nebraska volleyball team contributed some of the most impressive academic accomplishments for the Huskers during the 2006 spring semester. Every member of the volleyball team earned a spot on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll, while the program produced a combined 3.74 GPA during the semester, including five student-athletes with perfect 4.0 GPA semesters.

Graduation and Beyond
Huskers Among National Leaders in Graduation Rates

Nebraska continued to set the graduation standard among Big 12 Conference schools with an impressive Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rate of 93 percent. The Exhausted Eligibility Rate surveys the graduation rate of scholarship student-athletes who entered the University of Nebraska from 1989 through 1998 and exhausted their athletic eligibility at Nebraska.

The football team was one of just 29 teams honored nationwide by the American Football Coaches Association with its 2006 Academic Achievement Award in May. Nebraska was recognized for the sixth consecutive season for graduating 70 percent or more of its football student-athletes from the freshman class of 2000-01.

Individually, Nebraska student-athletes continued to bring home the nation’s top academic honors. In January, former NU women’s gymnast Richelle Simpson became the Huskers’ 15th winner of the NCAA Top Eight Award, honoring her achievements in competition, in the classroom and in the community.

Men’s basketball player Bronsen Schliep also claimed one of the NCAA’s most coveted awards by earning an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship worth $7,500 to continue his education. Schliep, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Nebraska in May, will also be able to use a $6,900 Dr. Prentice Gautt Big 12 Conference Postgraduate Scholarship to continue his education. Nebraska softball player Jessica Yoachim also captured a Big 12 Postgraduate Scholarship for her academic achievements.

Nebraska’s commitment to encouraging student-athletes to succeed off the field was honored on several occasions during the 2005-06 academic year. The National Consortium for Academics and Sport presented the University of Nebraska Athletic/Academic Center with two awards at its 2006 Giant Steps Awards Banquet in Orlando, Fla., in February. NU earned the Degree Completion Award and the Community Outreach Award for touching the lives of more than 75,000 people during the year.

In the community, Husker student-athletes reached nearly 100,000 people throughout the state of Nebraska in 2005-06. Cornerstone outreach programs included the statewide Tour of Excellence, American Education Week and "School is Cool" Celebration. In addition to those programs, individual student-athletes continued to make countless appearances in classrooms and community groups throughout the year.

The 2005-06 season marked the third year of the Huskers’ innovative Life Skills Award of Excellence Team Competition, which honored the team that demonstrated the strongest commitment to all phases of the life skills program, including outreach, education and leadership. Coach Connie Yori and the Nebraska women’s basketball team captured the team trophy for the second time in the past three years. This award was presented at Nebraska’s Student-Athlete Academic Recognition Banquet in April.