Regents Laud Mountain Lion Athletes

By Tom Hutton published February 19, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - UCCS leaders emphasized the student portion of campus intercollegiate athletics in a presentation to the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee of the CU Board of Regents Wednesday morning.

"The NCAA Division II philosophy is life in the balance," Brian Burnett, senior executive vice chancellor, Administration and Finance, said. "UCCS student-athletes are not likely going pro in their sport. They will go pro in the fields they are here to study."

The Regents met on campus Wednesday and Thursday in Berger Hall. Wednesday morning's discussions focused on reports by athletic departments at CU-Boulder and UCCS. Steve Kirkham, director, Athletics, shared department highlights including the cumulative 3.03 grade point average earned by the 211 student athletes who participate in 14 sports.

"For 19 semesters in a row, UCCS student athletes have exceeded the GPA of the overall student body," Kirkham said.

Kirkham, celebrating 10 years as director, touched on several other success points in his presentation to the Regents. Of seven fall sports, five earned regional rankings and four earned national rankings.

"Eight or nine years ago, we weren't putting those kinds of numbers up," Kirkham said. "Our chancellor and vice chancellor have been supportive of us as long as we did things right. We are."

He also highlighted the relatively small budget of UCCS athletics which is near the bottom of the 14 teams in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference while win-loss records are in the top half.

"When we recruit a student to UCCS to play sports, we stress that they will have the opportunity to graduate," Kirkham said.

Graduation is a consistent theme, even to entry into the UCCS Athletic Hall of Fame. That honor requires a degree in addition to superior athletic performance.

"I'm really proud of what you are doing," Regent James Geddes said.

Geddes read a proclamation lauding the department's success in the classroom and on the playing field. Each student-athlete will receive a personal copy of the proclamation.

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