PARK CITY, Utah – The Presidents’ Cup is staying in Cheney for another year. Eastern Washington University has won its second straight Big Sky Conference Presidents’ Cup, the league announced Monday.
The Presidents’ Cup, now in its 14th year, reinforces the Big Sky’s dedication to the academic side of the student-athlete experience. Overall athletic success is combined with team grade-point averages, Academic Progress Rates (APR), and All-Conference performers with grade point averages of at least 3.0.
Eastern Washington claimed its third overall Presidents’ Cup while becoming the third conference school to win the award in consecutive years. Four-time champion Weber State was the runner-up and Montana took third. Northern Arizona and Sacramento State tied for fourth in the standings.
EWU finished fourth in the athletic portion, and also showed stellar consistency in academics. The Eagles were third in APR standings at 979.7 and tied for fourth with an average GPA of 3.31. A league-leading 35 All-Conference athletes finishing with a GPA of 3.0 or higher propelled the Eagles to the Presidents’ Cup.
Eastern Washington’s women’s basketball, men’s tennis and women’s soccer each had an average GPA of 3.49 or better, with soccer leading the way at 3.7.
The Eagles finished with 105.83 athletic points as women’s basketball and cross country each provided second-place finishes. EWU also got top-four finishes from soccer, men’s cross country, football and both indoor and outdoor women’s track and field.
Last year’s Presidents’ Cup results had some unprecedented feats, as all 11 core Big Sky members finished with a GPA of at least 3.0. Big Sky student-athletes once again excelled in the classroom in 2015-16, turning that feat into a streak of consecutive years. Montana State owned the top GPA at 3.51, Idaho State followed in second (3.34) and North Dakota was third (3.33).
For the second straight season, a total of 134 of the 161 athletic teams from the 11 core members finished with a GPA of at least 3.0. Montana had all 15 of its programs finish with at least a 3.0 GPA, while Idaho State, North Dakota and Southern Utah had 14 of 15 programs earn 3.0’s or better. EWU had 13 of 14 programs with a 3.0 or higher.
Montana State’s men’s tennis team had the highest GPA of any team in the Big Sky Conference with a 3.74. EWU’s soccer team had the top GPA amongst women’s teams at 3.7. MSU’s women’s tennis team and ISU’s women’s cross country team also checked in with 3.66 GPA’s.
A total of 272 First, Second or Third-Team All-Conference student-athletes finished with a GPA of at least 3.0. Eastern Washington (35), Northern Arizona (34), Weber State (34), Montana (31) and Sacramento State (30) each had 30 or more athletes with all-league honors register 3.0 GPA’s or higher.
North Dakota registered the best APR in the league for the fourth consecutive year since joining the Big Sky, coming in with a total of 984.2. Idaho State was second with a 982.9, while EWU (979.7) and Sacramento State (977.7) followed.
Northern Arizona finished first overall in athletics with 132 total points, with Weber State (127) and Sacramento State (107.5) rounding out the top three. The NAU men won their third consecutive All-Sports Trophy in the spring and the Sac State women claimed their second in a row.
Men’s golf, which returned as a championship sport in 2015, was not included in calculations for this year’s Presidents’ Cup.
Press Release courtesy of Eastern Washington Athletics. Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.
Past Presidents’ Cup Winners
2002-03 Weber State
2003-04 Weber State
2004-05 Montana State
2005-06 Northern Arizona
2007-08 Weber State
2008-09 Weber State
2009-10 Eastern Washington
2011-12 Montana State
2012-13 Northern Arizona
2013-14 Northern Arizona
2014-15 Eastern Washington
2015-16 Eastern Washington