BYU Cougar Club Honors Academic Athletes at Annual Banquet

On Tuesday, Feb. 22, the BYU Cougar Club will honor 339 athletes at the Club's annual Academic Athlete honors Banquet to be held in the Cougar Room at Cougar Stadium.

"This year more BYU athletes qualified for the award than ever before. In 1999, 339 of BYU's 553 student athletes (61%) earned this recognition; this is the most Academic Athletes ever to qualify for the award," said Cougar Club Director Michael Middleton.

To be eligible for the Academic Athlete Award, BYU student-athletes must earn a semester grade point average of 3.2 or higher. Since the Cougar Club started this program in 1986, the number of athletes qualifying for the award has more than doubled and the percentage of qualifying athletes has nearly doubled.

At the awards banquet BYU President Merrill J. Bateman will recognize the athletes for their accomplishments. Also scheduled to speak at the banquet is Tom Morris, former Major League and BYU baseball player. Morris is currently an Associate Professor of Geology at BYU.

"The Academic Athlete program is a tremendous success," said Paul Warner, Director of BYU's Student Athlete Center. "BYU athletes work extremely hard in competition and in the classroom. We are grateful for the way Cougar Club supports and encourages them."

The annual donations of Cougar Club members helps BYU athletes to develop their potential, both athletically and academically.

"We are focused on making sure 'student athlete' isn't an oxymoron at BYU," Middleton said. "We want to ensure young men and women who choose to attend here can later leave the university with something too many athletes across the country never receive, a college degree."

In addition to funding all of BYU's recruiting expenses, the Cougar Club funds fifth-year scholarships, spring and summer tuition grants, tutoring, academic mentoring and provides laptop computers for athletes as they travel.

For more information on the Cougar Club, visit www.cougarclub.com or call 801-378-2583 or 800-426-4298.