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MSU receives renewal on NCAA academics grant

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- The NCAA has renewed Morehead State's Accelerating Academic Success Program grant for the 2014 calendar year. MSU is one of six institutions involved in a three-year pilot program aimed to increase student-athlete academic performance.

Morehead State is expected to receive $360,000 from the NCAA from 2013-15. The money is being used to enhance all aspects of the athletic department's academic unit. The university will also contribute $180,000, which pushes the total to $540,000.

"We are honored to be one of six schools in this program," MSU Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Services & Senior Woman Administrator Sara Larson said. "This funding is making a difference in the academic success of our student-athletes."

MSU's student-athletes recorded a 3.17 cumulative grade point average during the fall semester, while 11 programs posted better than a 3.00 GPA and 39 individuals registered a 4.00 GPA. The figures encompassed 294 student-athletes in NCAA-sponsored sports.

"Congratulations to all of these teams and individuals on a great fall semester in the classroom," Larson said. "We certainly want our teams to be competitive in their respective sports, but we also want our student-athletes to actively pursue their college degrees."

MSU has won the Ohio Valley Conference's Institutional Academic Achievement Award seven of the past nine years and a league-best 12 times overall. The Eagles had a school-record 23 OVC Medal of Honor recipients in 2012-13, which recognizes each sport's highest GPA.

"We are very grateful to the NCAA and our university leadership for their generosity and commitment to our student-athletes," Larson said. "Our recent academic improvement has been very obvious to those involved. This money is certainly taking our success to another level."

As part of the grant, Morehead State added a full-time academic learning coordinator to its athletic department staff. The money has also helped maintain the EAGLE Center, which features 7,000 square feet of computer labs, learning labs, study space and offices.

"We have four academic staff members who work with our student-athletes," Larson added. "Academics have been a priority my time at Morehead State (since 2002), but our student-athletes are starting to take the success to the next level and that's great to see."

The grant program assists institutions in further developing systems and enhancements that help schools meet the requirements of the NCAA's Academic Performance Program, including increasing the graduation rate and academic success of student-athletes.

Cal State Northridge, Coppin State, Jackson State, Norfolk State and Tennessee State were the other five schools selected for these funds. The NCAA Executive Committee approved a total of $4.365 million to help student-athlete academic performance.

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