Shavon Shields was the first of Nebraska's six CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2014-15.
Photo by Stephanie Carpenter/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska Academic All-America Total Leaps to 320

By NU Athletic Communications

University of Nebraska student-athletes produced another outstanding year in the classroom, the community and in competition to continue NU’s tradition of success in 2014-15. The Huskers increased their nation-leading total of all-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans to 320 with six academic All-Americans, while adding a trio of NCAA Elite 89 awards across all sports.

Nebraska continued to be the only school in the nation with 300 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, leading No. 2 Notre Dame (246) by 74. Nebraska remains one of just three schools across all divisions with 200 or more Academic All-Americans, joining Notre Dame and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 230). NU leads the nation in CoSIDA Academic All-Americans since 2000 with 126, extending its nation-leading streak to 44 consecutive years with at least one academic All-American.

A total of 690 awards were issued for the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Fall (356) and Spring (334) Honor Roll, recognizing Husker student-athletes who produced a 3.0 GPA or better during a semester. Among that group, Huskers produced 87 perfect 4.0 GPA semesters. A total of 62 Nebraska student-athletes also were honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars for posting 3.7 grade-point averages or better and lettering in their respective sports in 2014-15.

Nebraska’s CoSIDA Academic All-America success continues to set the standard for the approximately 1,400 member institutions. The Husker football team leads all individual sport programs in the nation with 107 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-America awards, while the Nebraska volleyball (37) and softball (29) programs rank No. 1 and No. 2 nationally among all women’s sports.

The Nebraska men’s track and field program produced three first-team CoSIDA Academic All-Americans for the first time in history, led by 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year John Welk. The senior sprinter from Bismarck, N.D., who was a two-time NCAA Elite 89 Award winner (2013, 2014), also claimed Nebraska’s Male Student-Athlete-of-the-Year Award and a Big Ten Medal of Honor. He was also a Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship winner ($7,500). Levi Gipson, a junior sprinter from Lincoln, Neb., added first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors for the second straight year. Gipson will enter his senior season as a two-time first-team Academic All-American, a four-time first-team All-American and a three-time Big Ten champion on the track. Welk and Gipson were joined by sprinter/hurdler Drew Wiseman on the CoSIDA Academic All-America team. The sophomore from Bismarck, N.D., also claimed one of NU’s three NCAA Elite 89 awards in 2015. Wiseman, who held the highest grade-point average of any student-athlete at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, teamed with thrower Will Lohman to sweep those awards for the Huskers. Lohman, a senior from Chewelah, Wash., posted a perfect 4.0 GPA to claim NU’s third consecutive Elite 89 Award at the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Nebraska’s 41 combined CoSIDA Academic All-America honors since 2002 for the men’s and women’s track and field program lead the nation. The Husker men’s and women’s track and field programs have combined for a total of 55 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards since 1985.
On the women’s side, nine-time women’s gymnastics All-American Jessie DeZiel captured the Nebraska Female Student-Athlete-of-the-Year Award and the Big Ten Medal of Honor, while her teammates Amanda and Jennifer Lauer claimed a Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship ($7,500) to continue their studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Nebraska Enhances Benefits for Student-Athletes
In August of 2014, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors restructured the way member institutions and conferences, including the Big Ten, can govern themselves. This change has paved the way for Nebraska to enhance the benefits and experiences for its student-athletes.
In 2015-16, all scholarship student-athletes across all sports will have their scholarship calculated based on the full cost of attendance at Nebraska. Every student-athlete will receive an Apple MacBook Air laptop computer to enhance their learning opportunities. Nebraska has created the first known post-eligibility benefit program, where every student-athlete who has graduated and exhausted their athletic eligibility will have the opportunity to pursue an internship, participate in a study abroad program or attend graduate school with Nebraska’s support.

Nebraska also has increased its resources and support in all academic and performance-related areas, including Academic Services, Life Skills, Athletic Medicine, Athletic Training, Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition and Dining Services.

Huskers Celebrate Graduations of 118 Student-Athletes in 2014-15
Across all sports, a total of 118 Husker student-athletes earned their bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nebraska from August of 2014 through May of 2015. Nebraska’s May graduating class of 58, joined a large group of 48 student-athlete graduates in December of 2014, while 12 Huskers earned their degrees in August of 2014.

269 Huskers Honored at 25th Annual Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet
The University of Nebraska Athletic Department took one special night to honor its own student-athletes at the 25th annual Student-Athlete Award Ceremony. The 25th anniversary version of the event was called “A Night at the Lied” and featured a red carpet flavor resembling the Emmy’s, the Oscar’s and ESPY’s.

The special event, which included the presentations of 269 honor medallions to high-performing Husker student-athletes, also recognized several outstanding performances.

In addition to John Welk and Jessie DeZiel earning Nebraska’s top individual honors as Student-Athletes of the Year, Coach Kerry McDermott’s men’s tennis team (3.510 GPA) and Coach Pablo Morales’ women’s swimming and diving team (3.568 GPA) claimed the 21st annual Herman Awards. The awards are presented to the Husker teams with the top team grade-point averages. The men’s tennis team won the award for the seventh time in program history, posting its highest team GPA in winning the award. It marked the first Herman Award victory for the men’s tennis team since 2008. The women’s swimming and diving team claimed its first-ever Herman Award.

Nebraska Claims 205 Academic All-Big Ten Awards in 2014-15
Across all sports, Nebraska student-athletes captured 205 academic All-Big Ten selections in 2014-15.

Over the past six years, Nebraska has amassed more than 1,300 academic all-conference certificates across all sports.

Perhaps even more impressively, a total of 62 Husker student-athletes captured Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar awards. Those student-athletes produced 3.7 or better grade-point averages during the fall and spring semesters of 2014-15, while also earning letters in their respective sports.

Husker student-athletes also earned 690 spots on the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll during the fall or spring semesters of 2014-15. 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 or spring semesters, 87 Husker student-athletes produced perfect 4.0 semester GPAs.

Nebraska Life Skills Program Continues Innovative Approach to Community Outreach
In the community, Husker student-athletes from all sports combined to complete more than 250 individual outreach requests while volunteering nearly 6,500 hours to impact approximately 30,000 people in Nebraska communities.

Life Skills is also playing a leading role in enhancing the student-athlete experience at Nebraska. Beginning in 2015-16, Life Skills will lead a department-wide committee to implement post-graduate opportunities. Starting in December of 2015, Husker letterwinner graduates have a three-year window to take advantage of a $7,500 opportunity to secure an internship, study abroad or attend graduate school within the University of Nebraska system.

Another new feature to the Life Skills program in 2014-15 was the first Service Trip Abroad. A team of 24 Huskers, including 18 student-athletes, two letterwinner alumni and three athletic administrators, traveled to Guatemala in mid-May to build a playground and assist with shoe distribution.

In the second year of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Award, 255 student-athletes completed at least six service projects or more earning a place on this prestigious Athletic Department “Good Works” team.

Recognizing their influence on youth, student-athletes served as motivational speakers for Middle School Matters, American Education Week and School is Cool assemblies to promote the importance of education and responsible choices. Husker student-athletes participated in weekly mentoring programs to serve as role-models to Lincoln Public Schools students and assisted several non-profit organizations to promote awareness for various causes.

This year, the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation collaborated with the University of Nebraska Athletic Department to host the Life Skills Sportsmanship Pep Rally, which reached more than 4,000 middle school students from 48 schools across the state of Nebraska.

In the fall of 2014, the Husker Life Seminar in partnership with the College of Education and Human Sciences entered its sixth year as a requirement for every incoming Husker student-athlete. Nearly 200 student-athletes completed the seminar, which focused on the transition to college life while learning skills to succeed as college students. Within the seminar, all newcomers assisted with the annual Husker Heroes event serving nearly 1,000, primarily children with special needs and their families, for a fun and interactive event on Tom Osborne Field in Memorial Stadium.

The Life Skills staff continues to coordinate a number of major life skills events focusing on personal and career development. Student-athletes attended annual events, including the Student-Athlete Career Fair, Involvement Fair, Financial Forum, Networking Night, Career Clinics and Senior Session. The Life Skills program also offered several events to aid graduate students with the application process and insights on how to enhance marketability for admission. All events are aimed at promoting total person development and preparation for life after sports.
The 2014-15 season marked the 12th year of the Huskers’ innovative Life Skills Award of Excellence Team Competition, which includes winners from both men’s and women’s divisions. Coach Chuck Chmelka’s gymnastics team captured the award on the men’s side, while Coach John Walker’s soccer team claimed the honor on the women’s side.

The Life Skills Award honors the teams demonstrating the strongest commitment to all phases of the Life Skills Program, including outreach, education and leadership. The awards were presented at “A Night at the Lied” in April.

A total of 35 Husker student-athletes were recognized with annual Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership awards, presented at “A Night at the Lied” ceremony. The HERO awards honor those Huskers who have consistently gone above and beyond establishing themselves as excellent leaders and role models. Devandrew Johnson from the Husker track and field team, Rebekah Land from the NU swimming and diving team, Ian Ousley from the Husker wrestling team and Desire’ Stephens from the women’s gymnastics team and Samantha Areman from the NU soccer team received the prestigious Heart and Soul awards, which recognize exemplary community service and leadership. Areman and football All-American and Senior CLASS Award winner Ameer Abdullah were also Nebraska’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winners.

Additionally, Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst and Head Coach Mike Riley recognized 37 football student-athletes at the 2015 spring game for being named to the annual Brook Berringer Citizenship Team for extraordinary community service.

The Life Skills program also oversees the N-Club, working diligently to engage letterwinner alums and bridge the past with present. The mission of the N-Club is to provide opportunities to letterwinners from all sports for connection, engagement and involvement through events, special reunions and communication while supporting the athletic, academic and career success of Husker student-athletes. Several social events were held in the fall and spring, allowing alumni athletes the opportunity to reconnect, see facilities, meet staff and interact with current student-athletes. Letterwinner alumni head coaches Darin Erstad (baseball) and Rhonda Revelle (softball) hosted a program and tour at Haymarket Park in the fall. During the spring, current and alumni athletes participated in a service project in conjunction with MAD DADS. A total of 20 bicycles were refurbished and provided to area youth. The Inner Circle leadership group allows upperclass student-athletes to connect and learn from area letterwinners who are excelling in life and their chosen careers. The Inner Circle also works closely with SAAC to coordinate a youth leadership symposium held each April.

2014-15 Nebraska Academic Highlights

320 All-Time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans across all sports (leads nation)

  • 107 Football CoSIDA Academic All-Americans (leads all sports, all time)
  • 37 Volleyball CoSIDA Academic All-Americans (leads all women’s sports, all time)
  • 29 Softball CoSIDA Academic All-Americans (No. 2 among all women’s sports, all time)
  • 41 Men’s & Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country Combined CoSIDA Academic All-Americans
  • (leads nation since CoSIDA added team in 2002)

One CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year in 2014-15

  • John Welk (Men’s Track & Field)

Six CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2014-15 (4 first-team, 1 second-team, 1 third-team)

  • First Team: Levi Gipson (Men’s Track & Field), Shavon Shields (Men’s Basketball),
    John Welk (Men’s Track & Field), Drew Wiseman (Men’s Track & Field)
  • Second Team: Ethan Lottman (Men’s Gymnastics)
  • Third Team: Ryan Boldt (Baseball)

Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship Winners ($7,500 each)

  • Amanda & Jennifer Lauer (Women’s Gymnastics)
  • John Welk (Men’s Track & Field)

NCAA Elite 89 Academic Award Winners (3)

  • Ethan Lottman (Men’s Gymnastics)
  • Drew Wiseman (Men’s Indoor Track & Field)
  • Will Lohman (Men’s Outdoor Track & Field)

Senior CLASS Award

  • Ameer Abdullah (Football)

National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society (4)
Ameer Abdullah, Mike Moudy, Mark Pelini, Trevor Roach

Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Award (16)
Oladapo Akinmoladun (Men’s Track & Field), Paula Andrie (Women’s Track & Field)
Alexandra Bilunas (Swimming & Diving), Bria Deveaux (Swimming & Diving)
Jordan Harrison (Football), Gazmine Mason (Bowling), Mike Moudy (Football)
Steven Reveles (Baseball), Andrea Ruiz (Bowling), Christian Sanderfer (Men’s Track & Field)
Shavon Shields (Men’s Basketball), Leslee Smith (Men’s Basketball)
Vasileios Stavropoulos (Men’s Tennis), Dawna Tyson (Softball), Tai Webster (Men’s Basketball)
Nathan Wong (Men’s Golf)

Male Student-Athlete of the Year - John Welk, Men’s Track & Field (Accounting)

Female Student-Athlete of the Year - Jessie DeZiel, Women’s Gymnastics (Nutrition Science)

Big Ten Medal of Honor Winners - Jessie DeZiel (Women’s Gymnastics); John Welk (Men’s Track & Field)

Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Winners - Ameer Abdullah (Football); Samantha Areman (Soccer)

Men’s Herman Award Winner - Tennis Team (3.510 GPA)

Women’s Herman Award Winner - Swimming & Diving Team (3.568 GPA)

Life Skills Team Award Winners - Men’s Gymnastics, Women’s Soccer

690 Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll Selections - Fall (356) and Spring (334) (3.0 GPA or above)

205 Academic All-Big Ten Selections: Across All Sports (3.0 GPA or above)

118 Student-Athletes Earned Degrees from August 2014 through May 2015
(August 2014--12; December 2014--48; May 2015--58)

87 Student-Athletes Earned Perfect 4.0 GPAs in either the Fall (43) or Spring (44) Semester

62 Husker Letterwinners Named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars (3.7 GPA or better in 2014-15)


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