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UPIKE earns NAIA ‘Champions of Character’ designation

Pikeville, Ky. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has selected the University of Pikeville as a 2011-2012 Champions of Character Five-Star Institution.

The goal of the NAIA Champions of Character program is to foster an environment in which NAIA student-athletes, coaches, officials and spectators are committed to the spirit of competition through five tenets: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

“The University of Pikeville is fortunate to have an administration, coaches and community that supports our student-athletes and athletics programs,” said UPIKE Athletic Director Reginald Overton, Ed.D. “We strive to create an atmosphere that is conducive to service learning and overall student development. The NAIA’s Champions of Character program knows no rival and is one that all organizations should implement.”

To earn the Champions of Character distinction, the NAIA measures an institution’s commitment to character training, conduct in competition, academic focus and character recognition and promotion. Schools are scored in each category. Institutions that score 60 out of 100 points earn the Champions of Character designation.

As part of the student-athlete experience at UPIKE, over the past year athletes participated in community projects such as food and clothing drives, hosted free sports clinics for area youth, a local cleanup effort following a devastating tornado, the Reading With the Bears program in grade schools, were involved in Special Olympics and a 5-K run to raise awareness for cancer.

Overton said the athletics department also focuses on the personal enhancement of student-athletes, offering a drug-alcohol seminar with guest speakers from local law enforcement and the legal community, as well as sexual harassment training.

Last year the university invited national speaker Mike Gottfried to campus. A former football coach and college football analyst for ESPN, Gottfried also founded Team Focus, an organization that helps fatherless boys ages nine to 17 by providing them with leadership skills and mentoring.

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