PARK CITY, Utah - For the second time in school history, Northern Arizona University has won the Big Sky Conference Presidents' Cup presented by Red Lion Hotels, the league office announced today.
The Big Sky Conference Presidents' Cup, now in its 11th year, reinforces the Big Sky's dedication to the academic side of the student-athlete experience. Overall athletic success is combined with team grade point averages, Academic Progress Rates, and All-Conference performers with grade point averages of at least 3.0.
Northern Arizona last won the Presidents' Cup in 2005-06. Montana State, the 2011-12 winner, finished second. The Bobcats were third in athletic points, and tied for second in academics. Idaho State enjoyed its best result ever, placing third. ISU was first in overall academics.
"NAU is deeply honored to be recognized for the academic and on-field performance of its student-athletes,'' said Northern Arizona University President Dr. John Haeger. "We have committed ourselves to building an athletics program with integrity that produces results. Our student-athletes, coaches and administrators have lived up to that commitment. The Presidents' Cup is testimony to what outstanding individuals can accomplish when working as a team and guided by the right priorities.''
Northern Arizona joins Weber State, Montana and Montana State as multiple Presidents' Cup winners. Weber State has won four, while Montana State and Montana have each won two.
"We are so proud of our student-athletes who continue to excel in the classroom and in competition,'' said NAU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lisa Campos. "Capturing the Big Sky Conference Presidents' Cup supports our mission to have NAU athletics be a vital part of the university and the greater community. I want to congratulate not only our student-athletes whose academic and athletic achievements enabled NAU to receive this award, but also our outstanding faculty, academic advisers, athletics staff and coaches who support, inspire and challenge our student-athletes to be their best in every endeavor.''
Northern Arizona finished first in overall athletic points. The Lumberjack men collected 56 points, while the NAU women's teams earned 59.5 points. Northern Arizona's men won the cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field Big Sky Championships. The Lumberjack football team finished fourth in the regular-season standings with a 6-2 record.
The Northern Arizona women's golf team captured the 2013 Big Sky Conference Championship. The volleyball team was third, as were the women's tennis team and the outdoor track and field squad.
Northern Arizona was second in APR and had 29 All-Conference student-athletes finish with a GPA of 3.0 or better. NAU tied for second in overall academic performance.
Northern Arizona finished with an overall GPA of 3.09. Eleven of its teams that compete in the Big Sky Conference achieved a GPA of at least 3.02. The soccer team recorded the top GPA at 3.49, followed by women's tennis and volleyball at 3.43.
"Northern Arizona has been very close to winning the Presidents' Cup many times in the past several years,'' said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton. "We congratulate the entire Northern Arizona University campus on claiming the Big Sky's most prestigious honor. Winning this honor is the result of countless hours in the classroom, on the practice field, and on the competitive stage. The student-athletes' performances ultimately determine the outcome, but there are so many people, including coaches and administrators, who work tirelessly to help our student-athletes. They should all be extremely proud.''
Red Lion Hotels is a proud supporter of the Big Sky Conference and the President's Cup. With more than 50 locations in the western United States, Red Lion Hotels is there to serve teams, fans, and alumni of Big Sky Conference schools.