Eight Arkansas football players who’ve earned their undergraduate degrees with NCAA eligibility remaining will be honored for their achievement through a special patch sewn on their jerseys this season.
“Our mission is to develop student-athletes to their fullest potential through intercollegiate athletics, including empowering them to attain the ultimate goal of graduation," athletic director Jeff Long told the university's website. "More and more, our student-athletes are achieving that goal even before their athletic eligibility has expired. In recognition of this extraordinary achievement, we have developed a patch to be worn on their respective jerseys by all those student-athletes who have earned their college degree. It is a great reminder that these talented young men and women have already achieved something truly special that will impact them the rest of their lives.”
One student-athlete from both the women’s soccer and volleyball teams will join the football players wearing the graduation patch in their own respective seasons this fall.
To further exemplify the Razorbacks' commitment to academic excellence, the program had an SEC-best 40 football student-athletes named to the 2015 Fall Academic Honor Roll.
Overall, since Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was hired in 2013, the Razorbacks lead the SEC with 100 football student-athletes on the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll. Last season’s 40 honorees were the most by one school during his first three seasons in the league.
"I think that the role as a head football coach is a lot more than just winning games," Bielema said at SEC Media Days last year. "Sometimes that's all we're measured upon. I understand it. I get it. I embrace it, I love it. But when you have kids go on to do some things in their life that no one else said they would do, when you see them have success 10 years, 15 years down the road, when you see them go past obstacles that lay in front of them that no one else thought they could achieve, it makes this job so much more rewarding."
(You can follow Chadd Scott on Twitter @ChaddScott)
© 2016, Chadd Scott. All rights reserved.
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