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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- January 11, 1999
Contact: John Johnson or Andy Frushour-- 517.332.5046

Scholar-Athlete Award Applications Reach All-Time High

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Jan. 11 - The popularity of the Michigan High School Athletic Association's Scholar-Athlete Award is still high, as evidenced by a new record in applications for students graduating during the 1999-00 school year.

The program, which has been recognizing student-athletes since the 1989-90 school year, honors 24 individuals, one in each sport in which the Association sponsors a post-season tournament. Farm Bureau Insurance underwrites the Scholar-Athlete Award, and presents a $1,000 scholarship in each sport.

After a one-year stoppage in participation growth, the number of applicants rose again. A record 2,857 applications were received from 516 schools, surpassing the 1997-98 record total of 2,785 applications. In addition to the record number of applicants, the number of schools participating exceeded last year's record of 504.

In addition, a record 1,205 student-athletes will be recognized for having met the eligibility criteria for the award, even though they were not a scholarship nominee from their school. All will be presented with certificates commemorating their achievement. This year's figure tops last year's record of 1,094.

The overall number of students recognized in this program set a new record this year at 4,062; topping last year's previous mark of 3,878.

Every MHSAA member high school is allowed to select one student-athlete to represent it in each sport, and an individual may be nominated in more than one sport. Birmingham Seaholm led the way in participation this year with 21 nominees. Grosse Pointe South was second with 20 applications, followed by Okemos with 19. Farmington, Livonia Churchill, and Midland Dow each had 18 applicants; Bloomfield Hills Lahser, Flushing, Grand Rapids West Catholic, Spring Lake, and Sterling Heights Stevenson each had 17; Ann Arbor Huron, Portland, and St. Johns each had 16; and Birmingham Groves, Grosse Ile, Grosse Pointe North each had 15 applicants.

To be eligible for the award, students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 (on a 4.0 scale), and have previously won a varsity letter in the sport in which they are applying. Students were also asked to shown involvement in other school and community activities, submit two letters of recommendation and a 500-word essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.

The applications will be judged by a 59-member committee of school coaches, counselors, faculty members, administrators and board members from MHSAA member schools. Finalists in all sports will be announced by January 28. Fall sports scholarship recipients will be announced on February 9; winter sports recipients on February on February 16; and spring sports winners will be announced on February 23.

To honor the 24 Scholar-Athlete Award recipients, a ceremony will take place during halftime of the Class C Boys Basketball Finals at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing on March 25.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,300 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments conducted in 12 sports for girls and 12 sports for boys which attract approximately 1.3 million spectators each year.

MEDIA ADVISORY -- A complete list of scholarship nominees and additional qualifiers for the Scholar-Athlete Award can be found on the MHSAA Web Site. Please scan that list for the names of student-athletes from your area. Information about finalists and scholarship recipients will be posted o the MHSAA Web Site according to the schedule listed in this release.