Books Before Basketball Program Helps Area Students

PROVO, Utah -- BYU Athletics and Nu Skin Enterprises have implemented a new academic rewards program for Utah County elementary and middle school students.

The program, entitled Books before Basketball, is designed to promote academic achievement among local-area students. Students who meet goals set by their teachers will earn a ticket to a selected BYU men's and/or women's basketball game.

"We wanted to create an opportunity that will help motivate students to excel in school," Tony Jewkes, BYU director of athletic marketing, said. "Athletics, with its popularity, often receives more attention than academics. We hope this program helps send a message to students that they can do both, but school comes first."

As the title sponsor of the program, Nu Skin Enterprises makes it possible for elementary and middle school students who meet academic goals to attend a game at no cost. Family members of the students will also be able to purchase tickets at a discounted rate.

"Nu Skin is pleased to be involved with a program that supports the students in our community," Larry D. Macfarlane, Nu Skin vice president of corporate communications, said. "Reading is a lifelong skill that needs to be instilled early in the lives of our children."

More than 80 schools will be participating in the program from the Alpine, Provo and Nebo school districts.

"Interest in the program has been tremendous and response from school administrators has been very positive," Jewkes said. "We're happy to partner with teachers in order to help their students succeed. We're also pleased to have an outstanding partner in Nu Skin -- they have always been very supportive of the people in this community."

The BYU men's and women's basketball teams have both been honored for academic achievement. Last year, the BYU men's team shared league-high honors with five players earning academic all-Mountain West Conference recognition and the women's team also placed five players on the academic team.