Kight Named Finalist For Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award

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March 26, 2013

FAIRFAX, Va. – Joel Kight has been named one of 10 male finalists for the 2013 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award.

The annual award is sponsored by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine and the NCAA, and the winners will be profiled in the April 11, 2013 edition of the magazine. The finalists were chosen from over 500 outstanding minority student-athletes nominated by their respective institutions.

Kight was a four-year letterman for the Ole Miss football team as a linebacker, playing in every game for the Rebels since 2009. He finished his career with 158 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He graduated in December 2012 with a journalism degree. The Lithonia, Ga., native was a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member.

Black Issues In Higher Education magazine, now Diverse, established the Sports Scholars Awards to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.

A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people. Each year Diverse: Issues In Higher Education invites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate in this awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism.

To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport; maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2; and are active on their campuses or in their communities. This year the NCAA partnered with Diverse to present this standout class of scholar athletes and over 500 male and female students from across the country were nominated.

Past recipients of the award include: Baylor University’s (2011) Robert Griffin III, Heisman Trophy winner; the University of Tennessee’s (2003) Kara Lawson, ESPN analyst who played for the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs; San Diego State University’s (1993) Marshall Faulk, NFL Hall of Famer; and the University of Kansas’ (1996) Jaque Vaughn, assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

Listed below are this year’s 10 male and 10 female finalists.

Male Finalists:
Andrew Nunez – Caldwell (Baseball)
Laurence Bowers – Missouri (Basketball)
Ryan Evans – Wisconsin (Basketball)
Twany Beckham – Kentucky (Basketball)
Chris Burnette – Georgia (Football)
Clay Belton – Findlay (Football)
Devin Hedgepeth - Oklahoma State University (Football)
German Decena - William Paterson (Football)
Joel Kight – Ole Miss (Football)
Javier Balboa – Iowa (Gymnastics)

Female Finalists:
Jessica Harlee - West Virginia (Basketball)
Kastine Evans – Kentucky (Basketball)
Kody Burke – NC State (Basketball)
Monique Weathers – Benedict (Basketball)
Shayla Bivins – Georgia Tech (Basketball)
TaKenya Nixon – Eastern Illinois (Basketball)
Michelle Ikoma – North Carolina (Gymnastics)
Alexandra Couzo – Felician (Soccer)
Ifeatu Okafor – Texas Tech (Track/Cross Country)
Minami Yamamura – UC-Davis (Gymnastics)

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