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August 30, 2004
athletics offers 'Best of Both Worlds'
John Arenberg is Emory sports information director.
The public perception may be that college athletes
succeed at the expense of their academic studies, but Emory’s
student-athletes are committed to pursuing both academic and athletic
excellence. The athletics department’s recruiting pitch, “Best
of Both Worlds,” has proven to be more than simply an advertising
One proof of evidence is the University’s No. 1 national ranking last year
for postgraduate scholarships presented by the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA), the governing body of college athletics. Each year the NCAA presents
174 scholarships, each valued at $7,500, to the best senior student-athletes
who intend to pursue graduate school. Applicants must demonstrate a record of
success in both academics and athletics.
Emory had six postgraduate scholarship honorees last school year, tying it with
Stanford for the most winners nationwide among more than 1,000 NCAA schools in
all divisions. Runners-up were South Dakota with five honorees, followed by Carleton,
Denver, Georgia, Rice and Wartburg, all with three.
This is the third time in four years that Emory has been ranked No. 1 nationally
for most NCAA scholarship recipients; in 2001–02 Emory was second behind
Emory also ranks No. 1 in the nation with 27 NCAA postgraduate winners
since 2000. Stanford is second in that time period with 23. Runners-up are California-Davis
(12), Nebraska Wesleyan (10), North Dakota (10), Denver (nine) and Nebraska
As a point of comparison, the Ivy League schools have combined for 10 postgraduate
awards since 2000. Other members of Emory’s athletic conference,
the University Athletic Association, which includes the likes of Chicago,
Carnegie Mellon, Case Western Reserve and New York University, have combined
for four postgraduate honorees since 2000.
And it has not been all study
and no play for Emory student athletes—not
only have they been honored with NCAA scholarships, they also have helped
the University finish in the top five nationally for best all-around
In the last four years, Emory has been fourth, fifth, second and
second, respectively, in the annual standings for the Directors’ Cup, presented by the National
Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Directors’ Cup standings
are derived from a mathematical formula that accounts for each school’s
finish in the various sports’ NCAA national championships.
EMORY REPRESENTING IN ATHENS
Alumna Sarah Hirst, ’99C, was one of 45 rowers named to the
U.S. Olympic Rowing Team. Hirst was chosen as an alternate after
narrowly missing out in qualifying for the lightweight women’s
single sculls. She did earn a berth in this year’s World Rowing
Championships in Banyoles, Spain, where she finished 13th in her
Hirst, a silver and bronze medalist at the 2003 Pan American Games, trains
at Seattle’s Pocock Rowing Center. She is believed to be the first Emory
female athlete to be selected for the Olympics in any sport.
But Hirst is the second former member of the Emory Crew Club to be selected
for the Olympics. Cyrus Beasley, ’95C, rowed for the United States in
the 1996 summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, finishing 10th in the men’s
single sculls. A third Emory crew member, Eric Koep, ’99C, was invited
to the U.S. national rowing training program after graduation but declined
in order to further his academic career.
Crew long has been considered the domain of the Northeast and, at the college
level, the Ivy League schools. For a club team—let alone one in the South—to
produce Olympic-caliber rowers is considered an anomaly.