June 25, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Scholar Baller program, in conjunction with the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) announced the recipients of the Academic Momentum Award, which is based on academic improvement and the impact of that academic momentum on each student-athlete and his or her peers. Softball junior Ali Lowe (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and football senior Dan Shirey (Feasterville, Pa.) were each chosen as second team recipients of the award, which honored a total of 63 student-athletes nationwide.
Lowe was named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team for the 2011-12 academic year and is a rising senior who is majoring in Communication. She started all 51 games she played for Villanova during the 2013 season and batted .304 with 26 runs scored, six doubles, three triples and six stolen bases. Lowe was the team leader in runs scored, triples and hits (48) while ranking second on the team in batting average, sacrifice bunts (6) and multi-hit games (10).
Shirey has been a two-time selection to the CAA Football All-Academic Team and is enrolled in graduate school at Villanova to pursue a degree in Liberal Studies. He received his undergraduate degree in Communication and is also a two-time All-CAA selection, earning first team honors in 2011 and third team honors one year earlier. Last season Shirey received a redshirt due to an offseason injury and he will return to the team for his final season of eligibility this fall.
The NCAS is an ever-growing organization of colleges and universities that provides opportunities for current and former student-athletes to continue their pursuit of higher education, while working in the community with children to address social issues. Established in 1985, the overall mission of the NCAS is "to create a better society by focusing on educational attainment and using the power appeal of sport to positively affect social change."
Established in 1995, the Scholar Baller movement evolved in response to concerns that the student-athlete's athletics role increasingly superseded the student role. In order to address this issue, the founding members of Scholar Baller developed a groundbreaking program to bridge the gap between education and sport utilizing student-athletes' passion for entertainment and athletics. As a result, the Scholar Baller program has produced unprecedented outcomes in student retention and academic achievement. Each award recipient will receive a recognition certificate; the second and first team will also receive a authentic Scholar Baller medal. All nominees who made the first team will also receive a ThinkMan/ThinkWoman trophy. All nominees are individually and collectively a testament to the "student" in "student-athlete." Their commitment to academics and athletics is truly an inspiration.