IA Sports Powerhouses Honored For Innovative Student-Athlete Initiatives.
Division 1A Athletic Directors' Association Awards
CHAMPS/Life Skills Honors
Today, seven of the nation's leading collegiate sports programs were honored for their accomplishments off the field.
IA powerhouses Florida State University, Penn State University, Syracuse University, University of Florida, University of Nebraska, University of Oklahoma and University of Washington received the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program of Excellence Award from the IA Athletic Directors' Association.
The award honors universities that have dedicated staff, financial resources and creative energies to improve the total college experience for the student-athlete. The CHAMPS/Life Skills program was created in 1992 to teach students such skills as financial management, career planning, study techniques and community service, preparing them for life after the final game whistle is blown.
"Student-athletes attend college to excel in life, not just sports," said Gene Hooks, director, IA Directors' CHAMPS/Life Skills Program. "Athletic programs today must focus on the total person, not just the athlete. The CHAMPS/Life Skills Program provides the tools and opportunities needed to develop a well-rounded student, prepared for a life off the field."
The award recognizes these universities as lifetime Programs of Excellence. They join last year's winners -- North Carolina State, The Ohio State University, University of Arizona and University of Texas at Austin - as the nation's most innovative universities committed to the well being of student-athletes.
All CHAMPS/Life Skills initiatives, active on 96 percent of Division IA campuses, build their programs around five commitments: Academic Excellence, Athletic Excellence, Personal Development, Community Service and Career Development. Each university is then free to develop activities and programming that express the unique character of their athletes and community. Many are incorporating extensive leadership training units into their programs.
Winning schools have instituted such initiatives as speaker's bureaus, tutorial programs, issues seminars, career exploration days, freshman enrichment programs and minority mentoring events.
Jim Livengood, president of the Division IA Athletic Directors' Association, has seen the program take shape and flight at the University of Arizona, where he is athletic director.
"At the end of every school year, I meet with our students to talk about their college experience, and I hear how important CHAMPS/Life Skills is to them, and I see the difference it has made," Livengood said. "The program exposes these men and women to exciting and fulfilling careers; it teaches them to enjoy serving others; and it exposes them to a world of opportunities. Thanks to this program every student-athlete knows what it feels like to be the star of a winning game."
Livengood said he also views the program as a powerful recruiting tool, noting that several students have selected the University of Arizona because of its outstanding CHAMPS/Life Skills program.
CHAMPS/Life Skills programs happening at universities around the country on any day include resume workshops, manners and etiquette seminars, volunteer speaking engagements, sessions on date rape and alcoholism, time management instruction, career fairs and money management seminars.
The IA Athletic Directors' Association is a volunteer association of the athletic directors at Division IA schools. Its mission is a commitment to the well being of the student-athlete. The CHAMPS/Life Skills program serves as a compass for fulfilling that mission. The association honors winning schools at its annual conference, held in Dallas, Texas today.
For more information about CHAMPS/Life Skills and the Program of Excellence Awards, contact Gene Hooks at 972-453-1234 today and 803-831-6700 after today.