The vast majority of large schools in this country sell the idea that their student athletes are students first. In many cases, they are lying.
Few are the months news doesn’t break of an academic scandal at one NCAA Div. I school or another.
Nevada is certainly included on the list of institutions that projects the notion its student athletes are scholars primarily. It’s not a mirage though.
In Friday and Saturday’s three separate graduation ceremonies at Nevada, 2,710 total degrees and ceremonies were awarded. It was a record number in the school’s 142-year history. Of those 2,710, 65 went to Wolf Pack athletes—which was also a record.
“We are extremely proud of this excellent class of student-athletes and congratulate them on achieving this ultimate goal of graduating from our University,” said Doug Knuth, Nevada’s fourth-year athletics director, in a release. “We are appreciative for all that they have achieved during their time at Nevada and thank them for their contributions to Wolf Pack athletics.”
Now former basketball player Lukas Stivrins was among the four former hoopers to graduate (Marqueze Coleman, Tyron Criswell, Kaileb Rodriguez). After transferring to Nevada three years ago from Pratt Community College (Pratt, Kansas), the 6-11 Scottsdale, Ariz. native became a fan favorite in Reno.
Playing sparingly in his senior season under new coach Eric Musselman (due largely to broken hand suffered in practice on Feb. 4), Lawlor always anticipated an appearance from the seemingly always smiling Stivrins.
He put on a show for the local fans in a Nov. 30 home rout of Holy Names. Stivrins entered the game late and hit 6-of-7 shots from deep to score a game-high 21 points in just 13 minutes of time.
“It’s kind of fun to be a crowd favorite, especially when I had that one night (vs. Holy Names),” Stivrins said. “That was crazy. That was a lot of fun.”
Graduating with a business degree in Friday morning’s ceremony, one of Nevada’s taller 2016 graduates was candid about the experience.
“It’s a great feeling. I got a degree from a four-year university,” Stivrins said. “It’s just something special, something useful.
“I really can’t put it in words to describe. It’s the four years of hard work and effort that went in to earning that degree. That’s what it’s for. And obviously it will help you further on in life. That moment is amazing.”
Along with the four mens basketball players who received diplomas, so did seven womens basketball players, 15 football players, four mens tennis players, one womens tennis player, five rifle members, three members of the track team, six total soccer players, five softball players, four volleyball players, eight baseball players and a pair of swimmers.