While the University of Louisville men’s basketball team performed well on the court in winning the 2013 NCAA Championship, the Cardinals excelled in the classroom as well. The Cardinals have been honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) with a 2012-13 Team Academic Excellence Award.
The award, created by the NABC Committee on Academics, recognizes outstanding academic achievement by a men’s basketball team with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better for all of its competing student-athletes. A total of 96 institutions -- including five schools from BCS conferences -- were honored in this inaugural year among NCAA Division I, II, III, and NAIA Division I and II.
The team produced a collective 3.295 grade point average for the 2012-13 academic year, with a 3.41 combined GPA for the fall semester, the highest ever for the Cardinals. A total of 14 of 16 Cardinals earned a 3.0 or better for the spring semester, with 15 of 17 attaining that mark in the fall semester.
Louisville received an NCAA Public Recognition Award in 2013 for ranking among the top ten percent in men’s basketball in the Academic Progress Rate, which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation for student-athletes.
The academic achievement is not new to the Cardinals. UofL’s men’s basketball team earned the 2010-11 and 2011-12 BIG EAST Conference Team Academic Excellence Awards, which recognizes the highest collective grade-point averages in each of the conference’s 23 sports (2012-13 awards have not been announced yet). The men’s basketball team has hovered around a collective 3.0 GPA for 10 straight semesters, including a 3.18 GPA for the most recent spring 2013 semester.
Major individual academic awards were also bestowed on UofL student-athletes as well over the past year. Peyton Siva was a Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America second team selection and was named the 2013 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Wayne Blackshear won the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Elite 89 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating in the finals site for each of the NCAA championships. Russ Smith was honored with a 2013 Scholar Baller Academic Momentum Award, which is presented to an individual based on the level of academic improvement and the impact of that academic momentum.