A record number of Butler Community College student-athletes have been recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association for their success in the classroom during the 2015-16 school year.
Butler has 53 student-athletes who earned NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards, which put the Grizzlies second overall behind Itawamba (Miss.), who had 60 student-athletes recognized. Butler led all schools in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, as Allen County and Johnson County were tied for second among KJCCC schools with 47 honorees each.
That number includes nine students who were honored with the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence for having a perfect 4.0 grade point averages. They were Jaclyn Means, Colleen Howland and Lauren Allan from the soccer team, Rachael Buzanowski, Janie Salinas and Kimberly Travis from cross country/track and field, Caleb Cox and John Gardner from baseball and Travis House from men's basketball.
Another 16 of the Butler student-athletes earned the Superior Academic Achievement Award with a GPA of 3.80-3.99. The final 28 students were honored with the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award for a 3.60-3.79 GPA.
Baseball and women's soccer had the most honorees among Butler sports teams, with 11 apiece.
Butler's 53 student-athletes honored is the highest in school history. The previous high number was 24 following the 2012-13 academic year.
Part of that increase was a change in qualification status this year. Previously, NJCAA academic awards were only given to sophomores who had completed their eligibility. Starting this year, freshmen with at least 24 semester-hours also became eligible for the awards. This modification to the award qualifications led to a 133 percent increase in the number of student-athletes earning national recognition for their academic achievements.
Of the 57,472 student-athletes that participated in the NJCAA during the 2015-16 academic year, 7.98 percent earned national academic honors – over double the previous mark of 3.31 percent set last year.
Itawamba (Miss.) boasted the highest number of honorees with 60 student-athletes earning recognition. The Magnolia State institution garnered 23 Pinnacle awards – the most in the country – to go along with 18 Superior and 19 Exemplary.
NJCAA Region 6 – consisting of 19 member colleges in the state of Kansas – claimed the most awards with 499. Following close behind with 408 recipients was Region 23, which is made up of programs from Mississippi and Louisiana. Colleges in central and southern Illinois compiled 342 awards for Region 24.