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DI-AAA ADA Announces 2018 Scholar-Athlete Awards


April 11, 2018

CLEVELAND – The Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA) is proud to announce the 20 members of the 16th Annual Scholar-Athlete Team presented by ARMS Software. In addition, the Association selected a men's and women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year and two Postgraduate Scholarship recipients.

“On behalf of the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association, I would like to congratulate the recipients of the Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards as well as those who have earned a postgraduate scholarship,” stated Tim Hall, current Division I-AAA ADA President and athletics director at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). “Our association prides itself in honoring student-athletes who model success both in the classroom and in their sport. These recipients are proof that student-athletes have the ability to devote their time to their studies and still perform at the highest level of collegiate athletics.”

Basketball players from all Division I-AAA ADA member institutions are eligible for these prestigious awards. Each of the nominees was required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.20 - on a 4.00 scale - in undergraduate study and have been a starter or important reserve with legitimate athletics credentials. Nominated student-athletes must have participated in at least 50 percent (50%) of the team's games listed on the nomination form. To be eligible for nomination to the Scholar-Athlete Team, he/she must have reached junior academic standing at their institution (ineligible athletics transfers are NOT eligible).

Additionally, one male and one female student-athlete were selected as the Division I-AAA ADA Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Receiving this year’s female honoree is Kylee Smith, who studied business administration as an undergraduate (3.915 GPA) and is pursuing a master’s in sports administration at Belmont, with a 3.898 GPA. The men's award recipient is Kevin Vannatta, an accounting major from UNC Asheville, who holds a 3.929 GPA.

"Once again, our association is excited to announce this year’s men’s and women’s basketball Scholar-Athlete Teams and Awards recipients,” stated Division I-AAA ADA Scholar-Athlete Team Selection Committee Chair and Athletics Director at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Scott Lazenby. “The quality of all of our nominees exceeded our expectations and made this year’s decision process even more difficult than in years past. Congratulations to all of the honorees.”

Smith, and Joseph Sherburne, a financial economics major at UMBC, with a perfect 4.00 GPA, were selected as the 2018 Postgraduate Scholarship recipients. Each will receive $5,000 towards postgraduate studies and will receive their awards during the Association's annual membership meeting held June 28-30 in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Convention, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

A special Review Committee of Division I-AAA Athletics Directors were responsible for selecting the winners. The 2018 Review Committee consisted of: Lazenby (Committee Chair); Amanda Braun, Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Don DiJulia, St. Joseph's; Bill Husak, Loyola Marymount; Philip Hutcheson, Lipscomb; Jean Lenti Ponsetto, DePaul; Kenneth Siegfied, CSU Bakersfield; Irma Garcia, St. Francis; and Robert Lineburg, Radford.

Men's Scholar-Athlete Team

Name Institution GPA Major
Evan Bailey College of Charleston 3.74 Chemistry
Clayton Cluster Loyola University Chicago 3.52 Finance
Rokas Gustys Hofstra University 3.67 Rhetorical Studies
Albert Owens Oral Roberts University 3.76 History
Josh Perkins Gonzaga University 3.26 Sport Management
Ben Richardson Loyola University Chicago 3.41 Finance
Joseph Sherburne UMBC 4.00 Financial Economics
Kareem South Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 3.53 Biomedical Science
Kevin Vannatta UNC Asheville 3.93 Accounting
Reilly Walsh NJIT 4.00 Management Information Systems


Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Kevin Vannatta, UNC Asheville


Women's Scholar-Athlete Team

Name Institution GPA Major
Lindsey Abed University of Hartford 3.61 Psychology
Taylor Gradinjan FGCU 4.00 Exercise Science
Mart'e Grays DePaul University 3.29 Sociology
Kamila Hoskova Rider University 3.86 Math & Economics
Jackie Kemph Saint Louis University 3.76 Accounting
Brittany Mbamalu Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 3.60 Public Administration
Sally McCabe Belmont University 3.86 Psychology
Victoria Rampado Niagra University 3.59 Education
Chandler Smith Gonzaga University 3.94 Marketing
Kylee Smith Belmont University 3.92 Busines Administration


Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Kylee Smith, Belmont University

Postgraduate Scholarship Recipients: Joseph Sherburne, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Kylee Smith, Belmont University.

About the Division I-AAA ADA: Now in its 17th year, the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association's mission is to enhance initiatives common to its Division I-AAA membership (the Division I institutions that do not sponsor football), in particular, aspects related to their flagship basketball programs. For more information on the Division I-AAA ADA, please visit www.div1aaa-ada.com. The Division I-AAA ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.