GLENVIEW, Ill., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Awards and Recognition
Association (ARA) today revealed the 10 finalists for its annual
sportsmanship award, given to one outstanding NCAA Division I collegiate
football player who best personifies the spirit of sportsmanship.
Former Brigham Young University Head Football Coach LaVell Edwards
chairs the committee that selects college athletes who exemplify
sportsmanship. Last year's winner, Rutgers University fullback Brian
Leonard went on to play for the St. Louis Rams.
The 2007 Sportsmanship Award recipient will be chosen from one of the
ten finalists (listed below) and announced this December. Finalists
represent a variety of schools of all sizes and locations throughout the
United States and award criteria take into consideration the athlete's
conduct both on and off the field.
"ARA's Sportsmanship Award is the only national award that recognizes
an athlete's character and leadership as it translates to sportsmanship,"
said Ed Hunt, president of the ARA. "Our panel looks for players that stand
out and contribute when playing and in life. It's encouraging to see so
many of today's collegiate athletes who consistently conduct themselves in
a highly sportsmanlike manner."
ARA Sportsmanship finalists are chosen by a panel that includes retired
coaches including Don Nehlen (West Virginia), Dick MacPherson (Syracuse)
Vince Dooley (Georgia), Gene Stallings (Alabama), Tubby Raymond (Delaware),
Spike Dykes (Texas Tech), Don James (Washington) and Ted Tollner (San Diego
State and USC) along with sports and media professionals and
representatives from ARA and other organizations.
To qualify for the award, an athlete must be a starting player or
significant contributor on his team, be a senior in good academic standing,
demonstrate great respect for competitors, school, teammates and coaches,
show an ability to accept victory and defeat graciously, convey a high
degree of humility and integrity, and demonstrate commitment in the
classroom and to the community.
Details on the 10 finalists follow (in alphabetical order):
-- Alex Brink, Washington State University, quarterback. A native of
Eugene, Oregon, two-time member of the All-Academic Pacific-10
Conference First Team and honor roll student, Alex is an active
participant in community service and a member of the WSU Reading
-- Jordon Brown, University of Houston, wide receiver. In addition to
maintaining a 4.0 grade point average during football season, Brown
leads a local chapter for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and
dedicates his time to community outreach activities.
-- Quentin Groves, Auburn University, defensive end. A criminology major
and community service volunteer for multiple reading causes, Groves was
pursued by the NFL but chose to finish out his last year with his team.
-- Jacob Gutierrez, University of Oklahoma, running back. A San Antonio
native and sociology major, Gutierrez organized teammates for a Habitat
for Humanity project and has won an award from the United Way.
-- Dionte Johnson, Ohio State University, fullback. A native of Columbus,
Ohio, Johnson started the licensed, non-profit organization, "Look Ma,
No Hands," to offer scholarships and other help to middle and high
-- Thomas Keith, Central Michigan University, linebacker. A two-time
Academic All-MAC and mathematics major, Keith volunteers with the
American Red Cross and Michigan Special Olympics.
-- Micah Rucker, Eastern Illinois University, wide receiver. A transfer
from the University of Minnesota, Rucker works with local grammar
schools and founded the Eastern Illinois University chapter of MADD
(Mothers Against Drunk Driving).
-- Jarrid Smith, Florida Atlantic University, guard. A political science
graduate earning his second degree in Intercultural Communication,
Smith also volunteers for the Jim Thorpe Native American All-Star Game
and teaches football to kids through his work with the Chaka Stars
-- Jeremy Thompson, Wake Forest University, defensive end. A health and
sciences major and local elementary school tutor, Thompson traveled to
Liberia to build a school, chapel and orphanage for children during his
-- Robert Valletti, Iona College, left tackle. An honors student and
mentor with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Valletti also volunteers to build
housing with the Foundation for Teaching Economics and as a camp
counselor for the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership seminars.
All NCAA Division I schools were eligible to submit nominations for the
ARA Sportsmanship Award. The finalists were selected in a blind process.
For more information, go to http://www.arasportsmanshipaward.com.
The Awards and Recognition Association is the official sponsor of the
ARA Sportsmanship Award. ARA is a membership organization of 4,000
companies dedicated to increasing the professionalism of recognition
specialists and advancing the awards and engraving industry.
SOURCE Awards and Recognition Association