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Sept. 29, 2003

Columbia, S.C. –
The University of South Carolina Athletics Department CARES.

The CARES Program at USC (Carolina Academic Resource and Enrichment Services) has been recognized nationally by the NCAA Division 1-A Athletic Directors’ Association as the CHAMPS Program of Excellence for the 2002-03 academic year. The recognition came Monday at the 1-A Athletic Directors’ Association annual meeting in Dallas, Texas.

The Program of Excellence distinction is awarded to CHAMPS programs that have displayed a highly effective and pervasive program benefiting their student-athletes in all five components of the CHAMPS program. The CHAMPS program was established in 1991 by the Division 1-A Athletic Directors’ Association to provide student-athletes with an educational and training program to assist in “their total development.” As an extension of the 1-A Athletics Directors’ Association, the CHAMPS program represents the commitment to the “Preparation for Life” of each Division 1-A student-athlete. The CHAMPS program is comprised of the following five components:

1. The commitment to academic excellence — A primary goal is to educate the student-athletes responsibly so that they will have an appreciation for learning, as well as knowledge and skills that will assist them throughout their life;

2. The commitment to athletic excellence — Basic to any successful 1-A program is the pledge that all student-athletes will be provided the quality facilities, equipment, coaching and support services that they need to reach their maximum potential,

3. The commitment to personal development: It benefits each 1-A program to provide assistance to its student-athletes in such skill areas as social development, personal health, ethics, emotional health, and fiscal management areas in which many collegiate athletes are often uneducated or unprepared;

4. The commitment to career development: CHAMPS is committed to the position that 1-A programs will emphasize the benefits of completing an academic degree program and will take a proactive approach to assisting each student-athlete with career opportunity counseling and placement.

“It was very evident that the University of South Carolina has created an outstanding plan and worked very hard over a significant period of time to develop a superior CHAMPS program,” said Dutch Baughman, Executive Director of the Division 1-A Athletic Directors’ Association. “They have clearly earned the distinction that accompanies their selection as a CHAMPS Program of Excellence.”

In order to be considered as a CHAMPS Program of Excellence, an athletics department must demonstrate:

1. That all five components of the CHAMPS program are in place and that they demonstrate both substance and longevity, i.e., the program exists as a total departmental commitment and is a part of the operating principles of the athletics program;

2. The goals and objectives are stated for all components which are designed to address the needs of the student-athletes;

3. The design and implementation of an athletics department mission statement that reflects a commitment to the welfare of the student-athlete;

4. The designation of a CHAMPS professional who is identifiable on a departmental organization chart with reporting lines to the Director of Athletics. The department will demonstrate that staffing and financial support are provided in all five component areas of the CHAMPS program.

5. The development and implementation of a marketing and promotions plan which includes promoting CHAMPS programs and achievements to all constituency groups.

USC representatives on hand for the award presentation today in Dallas include Mike McGee, director of athletics; Tom Perry, senior associate director of athletics; and Collin Crick, academic counselor and coordinator of “Team Gamecocks,” USC’s community service program for student-athletes.

“This award is a tribute to the commitment of our administration, coaches and academic support services staff, all of whom are dedicated to the total personal development of the student-athlete,” said McGee. “It is our goal that the student-athletes who attend Carolina have the opportunity to learn the life-skills that are so important to their growth as young adults and take these life-skills and put them to good use as they prepare for life after college.”