On April 2, 32 student-athletes were inducted into the new Theta Chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society.
The original National College Athlete Honor Society was created on May 17, 1996 at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. The program was founded by the DePauw head football coach and professor of kinesiology, Nick Mourouzis. This coach, accoeding to the KSC athletic page, “recognized that there were many organizations that honored top or elite athletes with high academic achievements, but none that honored all participants of athletic teams who were letter winners of their sport and who maintained a high cumulative grade point average.” This created the concept of honoring athletes for more than just their performance on the field, court or pool.
The KSC National Athlete Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma, hopes to bring honor and recognition to deserving student-athletes, their families, teams, athletic departments and colleges in much the same way as Phi Beta Kappa honors scholastics. However, in order to receive this recognition, there is criteria that all inductees must meet. The criteria, according to the KSC athletic page, includes the following:
“Must attend a four-year accredited college or university that is a member of the NCAA or NAIA
“Must have earned a letter in a varsity intercollegiate sport sponsored by the NCAA or the NAIA.
“Must have achieved at least junior academic standing by the fifth semester or seventh quarter as determined by the certifying institution.
“Must have achieved a minimum cumulative 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale) or equivalent grade point average by the time of the selection process. Local chapters may require a higher minimum cumulative grade point average, if they choose.
“Must be of good moral character.”
This criteria was met by 32 KSC student-athletes, with junior Courtney Votto included. Votto, a member of the women’s softball team, said it’s very important for athletes to be honored. “You usually see people just getting recognized for athletic successes but never academics,” Votto said. By having a National Athlete Honor Society, Votto believes that it will encourage more student-athletes in the classroom to work even harder and inspire athletes who have yet to be inducted to push themselves to achieve this goal. For Votto, being recognized as a successful student-athlete was something that made her very proud. “I was very excited to get inducted because I believe I’m personally better in the classroom versus on the field, so I was happy to finally get recognized for something I’m good at,” Votto said.
The concept of honoring athletes on the field and in the classroom connected with the junior. “I think it is important because sometimes you accomplish something you might not think is that big of an accomplishment, but when you get recognized for it, it makes you feel good and feel like you can accomplish more,” Votto added.
Junior Samantha Sullivan, a member of the KSC women’s lacrosse team, said that being inducted was a rewarding accomplishment. “It’s really great that athletes can be recognized for the hard work they put in on and off the field,” Sullivan said.
Oftentimes, athletes are practicing everyday, sometimes twice a day, which requires a lot of time that an athletes loses. “After all the practices and games, we are all expected to go back and get our homework done,” Sullivan added.
The junior said that continuing the tradition of inducting student-athletes and honoring them for their hard work should definitely be continued in the future and is something that every athlete can strive to achieve.
JJ Downey, a junior and KSC men’s lacrosse player, agreed with both Votto and Sullivan. “Getting inducted was very humbling,” Downey said.
As a men’s lacrosse player, Downey’s season runs through the spring, making the final stretch of the semester slightly more challenging. “I hold myself to a high standard and expect nothing less. I look to keep exceeding in the classroom and on the field,” Downey said.
Downey added, “I think it can be challenging, but I think other athletes will want to be a part of this elite group,” Downey said.
The National Athlete Honor Society has seemed to bring pride and honor to each inductee, as well as a desire to strive to achieve more.
Hopefully this legacy will continue throughout the next generation at KSC.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at email@example.com