N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 1 / NO. 7 / June/july 2018

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

Campus of Champions
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Chancellor MartinOne of the great abiding traditions of colleges and universities around the country are our athletics programs. Games, matches and meets bring the campus community together, draw alumni back to their alma mater and give voice to our collective feelings of institutional pride and competitive energy.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University experienced the power of that in unprecedented ways in 2017-18, as our athletics teams charted success both on the playing field and in the classroom. It was, quite frankly, an electrifying year for the Aggies.

Our student athletes won Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships in seven of the 17 sports in which they compete, including football, baseball, women’s basketball, bowling, women’s indoor track, men’s indoor track and men's outdoor track (the men’s track team won championships in indoor and outdoor competition for the second consecutive year). Aggie athletics teams took part in NCAA tournaments in three sports, sent a major contingent to the NCAA Division I track outdoor championships and won the Celebration Bowl, taking with it the HBCU national college football championship.

It was just as inspiring to watch those same individuals perform so effectively in the classroom. Our more than 300 student athletes recorded the highest academic progress rate (APR) of the 13 MEAC institutions, for which they were recognized in June at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics conference in Washington, D.C.

Our women golfers led our teams in academic performance with a 3.67 grade point average. The N.C. A&T Academic Athletes of the Year excelled in multiple sports including baseball (Jonah Owenby and Jason King), football (Trey Scott), men’s track (Ronald Cubbage) and women’s basketball (Jessica Brown and Alexus Lessears).

As with most everything in Intercollegiate Athletics, the accomplishments above represent the sum of outstanding individual and team efforts. Student athletes commit themselves to an extraordinary level of discipline, with highly structured daily study and practice schedules that leave little time to spare. Our administrators, coaches and staff, led by Intercollegiate Athletics Director Earl Hilton, go above and beyond to ensure our teams are ready to compete at the highest levels. Because that’s what Aggies Do.

Along with the rest of the Aggie Nation, I’m eager to see what 2018-19 holds for these young men and women and all of the students who will join them on campus this fall. I have no doubt that they’ll rise to the challenge of matching last year’s success and living up to the classroom and playing field standards they set for themselves.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

+ To learn more about North Carolina A&T, please visit iTunes and subscribe to the On Point with Chancellor Harold L. Martin podcast.
These 3 Things
These 3 Things

At the Top of Their Game
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Ana Olaya (left), Kala Green (middle) and Rodney Rowe (right)

A&T athletics teams were talent rich in 2017-18. Star competitors ranged from All-American football star Brandon “Big Stuff” Parker, who signed with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders after being drafted in the third round in April, to Alexus Lessears, an Academic Athlete of the Year in addition to starting as center on the MEAC conference champion women’s basketball team.

So many A&T athletes stood out, it’s tough to focus on just a handful, but these three students were notable for being at the top of their games in three very different sports:

  • Rodney Rowe. The junior sprinter from Clayton, N.C., capped an outstanding indoor season by becoming only the second Aggie track athlete in school history to earn first-team All America honors in three events, running before a national audience at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. That followed his selection as a second-team Indoor Track All American.

  • Ana Olaya. In a stellar year that saw the A&T bowling team win its conference championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament, Olaya – a freshman from Bogota, Colombia – stood out from beginning to end, averaging a team-best 197.38 pinfall in traditional games. She was named MEAC Rookie of the Year, and is one of six Aggie bowlers from a team of seven set to return for 2018-19.

  • Kala Green. The A&T women’s basketball team shone in 2017-18, posting a final record of 23-9, and Green led the way. The graduating senior guard earned MVP honors as the Aggie women won the MEAC conference tournament, following their regular season MEAC championship. They drew a tough opponent in the first round of the NCAA tournament: defending national champion South Carolina. Though the Aggies lost, Green didn’t flinch, knocking down 21 points, including five three pointers. Among the multiple awards Green deservedly won in the post-season was A&T’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year.

Football’s Big Year Pays Big Dividends
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N.C. A&T Post game

In a year of major A&T athletics successes, none loomed larger than football’s historic season. The Aggies became the first-ever MEAC program to go undefeated (12-0) and brought home the Black College Football National Championship with a heart-stopping 21-14 win over Grambling. They finished the season ranked 7th in the nation in the FCS Coaches Poll and were the only team in the poll that didn’t post a single loss.

The season-ending Celebration Bowl victory in Atlanta’s glittering Mercedes-Benz Stadium paid dividends for A&T far beyond athletics. Participation in the bowl game resulted in 227 million impressions and nearly $25 million in television exposure and news coverage across all platforms, independent media research showed. The game alone was seen by nearly 2.36 million viewers in a national broadcast on the ABC network, drawing more fans than other games featuring such familiar names as Florida State, N.C. State, West Virginia and Virginia.

Beyond traditional media, the game generated an additional 66.2 million impressions in social media, at an estimated value of nearly $1.8 million.

The visibility and success of the football season and athletics overall undoubtedly had an impact on student interest in the university, as big seasons typically do at campuses around the country, though just how much is impossible to say. What is clear is that the university received more undergraduate applications for fall admission than in any year in school history, adding fuel to A&T’s strategic plan goal of an enrollment of 13,500 by 2020. Already the nation’s largest historically black university, A&T enrolled 11,877 students in 2017-18 and is projected to grow further this fall.

The impact of last season on the football program’s future was clearer: A&T signed 15 new student athletes, six of whom came from states beyond North Carolina. “Winning helps in recruiting,” said head coach Sam Washington, who replaced retiring legend Rod Broadway, “Recruiting has been feasible the past few years because of our success.”

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Leveraging Corporate Support for Greater Success

When North Carolina A&T announced a $1.5 million gift in June from the BB&T banking and financial services corporation to Aggie athletics, the front-page news turned more than a few heads.

Corporate dollars are often hard to come by in university athletics programs, even at the Division I level. The BB&T sponsorship, which includes naming rights for 15 years at the A&T stadium, is the first of its kind in the MEAC, and perhaps even in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), in which A&T competes. In its first year, it boosted athletics’ corporate support by 25 percent over its previous best year.

The funds will go toward improvements for the 37-year-old stadium -- home to the championship women’s and men’s track teams, as well as the football program – and perhaps just as importantly open the door to sponsorship from other regional corporations interested in being part of the growing success at A&T. Athletics Director Earl Hilton called it a “game changer” for the program’s corporate relations efforts.

Hilton also says it will also have an impact beyond student athletes for the student body overall: It will obviate the need for $9 per student in avoided athletics fees over the next 15 years.

For a university pursing private support more aggressively than ever – A&T recorded a record year in private giving in 2016-17, and just closed the books on a fiscal year officials say will significantly surpass that total – the BB&T sponsorship serves as another illustration of A&T not only charting its own destiny, but providing a solid example for both HBCU and FCS peers to follow.

Data Points
Data Points
10 - Aggies MEAC Championships in 2017-18
327 - Total A&T student athletes in 2017-18. 
1 - Aggie Athletics’ place among 13 MEAC universities in academic progress rate in 2017-18. 
3.67 - Collective GPA for the A&T women’s golfers, who led all Aggie teams in academic performance.  
293.2 Million - Total impressions in broadcast, social and news media from 2017 Celebration Bowl win.
$40 Million - Annual regional economic impact of A&T visitor spending, much of it in support of athletics events
$9.18 Million - Annual economic impact of A&T homecoming.

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart
Todd Hurst Simmons

Yvonne L. Halley

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a land-grant university that is ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral University: Higher Research Activity.

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N.C. A&T is an AA/EEO employer, and it is an ADA compliant institution; thus, facilities are designed to provide accessibility to individuals with physical disabilities.