SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has recognized Briar Cliff as a “Five-Star Champions of Character Institution” for the sixth straight year.
The distinction, which the University has earned every year since the Five-Star award’s inception in 2010, is given to schools which have excelled in the areas of character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion. This year, the NAIA recognized 171 institutions nationwide.
“Character and sportsmanship are core values in each of our athletic programs, so to be named a five-star Champions of Character institution is an incredible achievement for BCU,” said athletic director Steve Gast. “The honor is a culmination of the effort of our student-athletes; and the commitment of our coaches, faculty, staff and administration to developing our students the right way — on and off the field of play.”
“We strive to include character messages in our practices and camps,” added Marian Pesky, director of BCU’s Champions of Character program. “We work with our coaches and student-athletes to instill the importance of being a person of character, as well as striving to be the best we can be in the playing arena and in the classroom.”
The award is the latest in a string of honors recognizing Briar Cliff student-athlete success during competition, in the classroom and beyond. Fifteen BCU athletic programs earned NAIA Scholar Team status in 2015-16, and the Charger men’s basketball team was recognized with a Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Charger student-athletes also spend thousands of hours performing service projects in the community, at places like Camp High Hopes, the Siouxland Center for Active Generations, Boys and Girls Home and the Sioux City Miracle League, among others.
The Champions of Character program promotes five core values in student athletes — integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. The NAIA annually tracks the progress of every member institution through a Champions of Character scoring system. Institutions earn points based on exceptional student-athlete grade point averages, and by having minimal to no ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year.