UTSA Recognized for Excellence in Promoting the Scholar-Athlete Ideal
APR 29, 2014 12:52p ET
IRVING, Texas -- As part of the National Football Foundation Faculty Salutes Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity InvestmentsÂ®, the NFF will present UTSA Faculty Athletics Representative Gregg Michel, Ph.D., with a commemorative plaque and the school with $5,000 tomorrow.
UTSA and Michel are being recognized for their efforts in fostering excellence among the student-athletes as exemplified by 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Eric Soza. The presentation will take place April 30 during UTSA's Annual All-Sports Banquet, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT at Pedrotti's North Wind Ranch in Helotes, Texas.
"Gregg Michel has been a critical liaison between academics and athletics at UTSA," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are proud to join with Fidelity Investments in highlighting his role in ensuring that the student-athletes at UTSA have an educational experience that prepares them for success long after their playing days in San Antonio."
In 2011, the NFF announced, in partnership with Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education, that it was expanding its NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Program to recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the 16 schools with a member of the annual NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. As part of the initiative, the NFF is presenting each of the faculty representatives with a commemorative plaque and $5,000 from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.
"The Faculty Athletics Representative position, fulfilled at UTSA by Gregg Michel, is crucial to our athletic department, as he ensures academic integrity and looks out for the welfare of our student-athletes by monitoring the delicate balance of academics and athletics," said UTSA Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey. "We appreciate the National Football Foundation and Fidelity Investments honoring scholar-athletes and recognizing the importance of the Faculty Athletics Representative position on a national platform."
A professor at UTSA since 2000, Michel became the chair of the Department of History in 2010. Serving as UTSA's Faculty Athletics Representative since 2007, he works to support the academic progress and success of UTSA's student-athletes and helps monitor compliance with NCAA rules and regulations. Michel has served the university in a variety of capacities, including as chair of the Athletics Council and a member of the Core Curriculum Assessment Committee. He received his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Chicago and his master's and doctorate in history from the University of Virginia.
UTSA was represented in the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class by Eric Soza, who maintained a 3.96 GPA in physical education while becoming the undisputed leader of a start-up football program in only its third year of existence. A 2013 Academic All-District and C-USA All-Academic selection, Soza graduated summa cum laude in May 2013, and he is currently enrolled in a master's program for higher education administration. A three-year team captain, he started every game of his UTSA career and finished with 574 completions for 6,952 yards and 46 touchdowns. A member of the 2013 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, Soza received the Fall 2013 Conference USA Spirit of Service Award, and he volunteers with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Special Olympics and the Wounded Warrior Project.
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, were established in 1959 as the first initiative in history to honor scholar-athletes with post-graduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. The program currently provides each member of the class with an $18,000 scholarship, distributing a total of $300,000 each year to the nation's top scholar-athletes. In 2011, Fidelity Investments became the first official sponsor in the 56-year history of the program, which has awarded more than $10.4 million to 787 individuals since its inception.