BERKELEY – The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced Wednesday that Cal fifth-year senior offensive lineman Mark Brazinski is one of 170 candidates across all divisions of college football for the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments®. The candidates also comprise the list of semifinalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. The 170 semifinalists for the award often referred to as the “Academic Heisman” represent the most ever since 2006 when the NFF increased the nomination standards to require a minimum cumulative 3.2 GPA.
“I am honored and privileged to be in such a prestigious class of semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy,” Brazinski said. “I am grateful to the University of California and the football program for their support. I look forward to the continuation of the process and hope that I will be considered as a finalist.”
Brazinski received two bachelor’s degrees (Business Administration, Media Studies) in his first three years at Cal. With two seasons of athletic eligibility remaining at the age of 20, Brazinski became the youngest person to ever be admitted to an information technology master’s program in Silicon Valley and is now in his second year in Cal’s Master of Information Management and Systems program. He is a three-year letterwinner (2010-12) who earned first-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors in 2011, was the team’s Freshman Lifter of the Year in 2009 and had a cumulative undergraduate 3.582 GPA.
Brazinski is also a member of Mensa International, which is the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test.
In the community, Brazinski is a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and was a District 6 Scholar while also earning the Ernest H. Garbe Award for excellence in media and journalism. He is also involved with Athletes in Action and is a member of the organization’s student leadership team that has helped organize mission trips to the Dominican Republic where children were taught the Christian faith, competitive spirit and responsibilities.
His future plans include applying for the Rhodes Scholarship and the George J. Mitchell Scholarship.
Brazinski’s selection continues Cal’s strong tradition with NFF honors in recent years. In 2008, Alex Mack won the Campbell Trophy (named the Draddy Trophy at the time). Mike Mohamed was one of 16 Campbell Trophy finalists in 2010 and Giorgio Tavecchio was a national semifinalist in 2011. Mack and Mohamed were also both recipients of an NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
"The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools on this tremendous honor," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist’s achievements, which show that football players can balance between academics and athletics at the highest level. There is no question that the NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from among this esteemed group.”
"We take great pride in the record participation by the number of schools in the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program this year," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (1997 Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "It is important for us to showcase that success on the football field starts with winners in the classroom and community. This year’s record-breaking number of nominations further illustrates the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders.”
The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients for the National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, October 31. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2013 Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 10 during the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the Campbell Trophy.
Named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia, and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total post-graduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program's all-time distributions to more than $10.4 million.
Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post-graduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments. The Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five NFL Draft first-round picks.
In 2011, the NFF and Fidelity Investments announced a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. As part of the initiative, Fidelity became the first presenting sponsor ever in the 55-year history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. Fidelity also helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. As part of the initiative, the NFF will present each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support systems for student-athletes at each school.
WILLIAM V. CAMPBELL TROPHY PAST RECIPIENTS
1990 – Chris Howard, Air Force 1991 – Brad Culpepper, Florida 1992 – Jim Hansen, Colorado 1993 – Thomas Burns, Virginia 1994 – Rob Zatechka, Nebraska 1995 – Bobby Hoying, Ohio State 1996 – Danny Wuerffel, Florida 1997 – Peyton Manning, Tennessee 1998 – Matt Stinchcomb, Georgia 1999 – Chad Pennington, Marshall 2000 – Kyle Vanden Bosch, Nebraska 2001 – Joaquin Gonzalez, Miami (Fla.) 2002 – Brandon Roberts, Washington University 2003 – Craig Krenzel, Ohio State 2004 – Michael Munoz, Tennessee 2005 – Rudy Niswanger, LSU 2006 – Brian Leonard, Rutgers 2007 – Dallas Griffin, Texas 2008 – Alex Mack, Cal 2009 – Tim Tebow, Florida 2010 – Sam Acho, Texas 2011 – Andrew Rodriguez, Army 2012 – Barrett Jones, Alabama
2013 NFF NATIONAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CANDIDATE NOTES
NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program launched in 1959.
170 nominations, record number since minimum GPA increased in 2006.
3.60 Average GPA
7 nominees with a perfect 4.0 GPA
39 nominees with a 3.8 GPA or better
105 Team Captains
97 All-Conference Picks
29 Academic All-America Selections
21 All-America Selections
1 former NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete
54 Nominees from the Football Bowl Subdivision
46 Nominees from the Football Championship Subdivision