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Lamar receives NCAA Academic Support Grant

Lamar sports information

INDIANAPOLIS — Lamar has received a $900,000 Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) grant, the NCAA announced Monday evening.

LU is one of just nine schools to receive the grant, and one of only three schools within the Lone Star State (UT-Arlington and Texas Southern). Schools that were eligible for grants were NCAA Division I non-Football Bowl Subdivision affiliates.

“Lamar University is honored to receive this grant from the NCAA,” said LU President Dr. Kenneth R. Evans. “Winning on the field is paramount, but this grant continues to illustrate the University’s commitment to our student-athletes’ ongoing accomplishments in the classroom. Academic excellence is key to the continued success of our athletes with the ultimate goal of graduating and obtaining their diplomas.”

The NCAA has pledged support for institutions as they work to meet academic standards via the AASP. The program is an association that holds schools accountable for the academic success of its student-athletes and was developed to ensure schools provided an environment that supports education while enhancing the ability of student-athletes to earn a degree.

The grant will be distributed over a three-year period and used to fund five specific areas: Cardinals Cultivation (summer school), Cardinals Excellence (life skills programs), Cardinals Collaboration (technology and software), Cardinals Completion (degree completion) and Cardinals Construction (renovation and facilities).

Part of the funding will to go to supporting summer school. This will provide athletes a better opportunity to achieve their degrees within four years.

LU will also look to improve upon the life skills programs with the addition of motivational speakers, leadership opportunities, personal assessments and other workshops and retreats. The University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will also be able to develop future programs due to the grant.

The third step of LU’s five-point program will go toward the purchase of new computers and mobile hot spots for student-athletes to use while traveling. More work is now being completed online which makes the need for computers and the ability to access the Internet while traveling more important. Upgraded technology will help student-athletes keep up with their work on the road and help eliminate opportunities to fall behind.

It is not uncommon for student-athletes to take more than four years to earn their degree. LU also plans to use part of the grant for providing fifth-year scholarship assistance for student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility.

The fifth part of the plan will focus on improving the computer labs and study areas. In addition to making the existing areas more conducive to studying, LU will also be adding academic areas at the LU Softball and Soccer Complex and at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

“We are very appreciative of the NCAA awarding us this grant,” said LU Director of Athletics Marco Born. “I am very proud of our staff and coaches for submitting a very comprehensive grant to the NCAA and I am excited to get awarded this transformative amount. I also want to thank President Evans, faculty representative Dr. Chu and the entire committee for supporting this initiative with us.

“The awarding of this grant aligns perfectly with our vision of providing resources for our students to becoming champions in the classroom, champions on the field and court and champions in life,” added Born.

The AASP was established in 2012 by the NCAA Executive Committee (now known as the Board of Governors), and the most recent awarded grants mark the sixth round of AASP funding distributed by the NCAA.