National Student-Athlete Day recognizes the accomplishments of student-athletes nationwide who excel in the classroom, on the playing fields and in their communities. National Student-Athlete Day was created by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and the Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, with partnership from the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations. NCAA involvement began in 1994.
The NCAA provides financial assistance and administrative support to the NCAS by providing colleges and universities with nomination forms for the Giant Steps awards and other pertinent materials to promote National Student-Athlete Day. NCAA member institutions are encouraged to recognize outstanding student-athletes and to make National Student-Athlete Day a meaningful experience by placing posters around their campuses and participating in community activities. To find potential National Student-Athlete Day models, visit the National Consortium for Academics and Sports Web site.
College and university Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAACs) have created a variety of programs for National Student-Athlete Day. Some SAACs do community outreach by visiting patients at local hospitals, while other SAACs speak to elementary or middle school students about the importance of education. Some SAACs have hosted luncheons to recognize the accomplishments of their peers, while other SAACs have hosted interactive assemblies at their campuses for local students.
NCAA student-athletes are among the honorees for the Giant Steps awards each year. Amber Burgess, a softball student-athlete at the University of Nebraska and a former student at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., and Dirceu Hurtado, a soccer student-athlete at Fairleigh-Dickinson University who recovered from a near-fatal aneurysm his freshman year, earned the Courageous Student-Athlete Giant Steps awards in 2001. The NCAS also honored Dr. Richard Astro, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Drexel University, NBA Hall of Fame inductee Julius "Dr. J" Erving, NFL Pro Bowler Derrick Brooks and high school coaches Herman Boone and William Yoast, who were featured in the widely-acclaimed film, Remember the Titans.
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