Briar Cliff University has been named a Champions of Character Gold Medal Institution by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
"This honor is a culmination of the effort of our student athletes; and a commitment to developing our students the right way, on and off the playing field."
—Steve Gast, Athletic Director
Briar Cliff is one of only 29 NAIA institutions nationwide to earn the prestigious Gold Medal distinction, awarded to schools that have excelled in the areas of character training, academic focus, character recognition, character promotion and conduct in competition.
"Character and sportsmanship are core values in our athletic programs, so to be named a five-star Champions of Character Institution is an incredible achievement for Briar Cliff," said athletic director Steve Gast.
"This honor is a culmination of the effort of our student athletes; and the commitment of our coaches, faculty, staff and administration to developing our students the right way, on and off the playing field."
The award is the latest in a string of honors recognizing Briar Cliff student athletes' success during competition, in the classroom and beyond. Fourteen BCU athletic programs earned NAIA Scholar team honors in 2014-15, and the Charger men's basketball team was recognized with a Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Charger student athletes also spend thousands of hours performing service projects in the community, at places like Camp High Hopes, the Siouxland Center for Active Generations, Boys and Girls Home and the Sioux City Miracle League, among others.
Started by the NAIA in 2000, the Champions of Character program promotes five core values in student athletes — integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
The NAIA annually tracks the progress of every member institution through a Champions of Character scoring system, and recognizes the top performing institutions with a five-star designation split into three tiers: Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Briar Cliff and Dakota Wesleyan are the only colleges from the Great Plains Athletic Conference to earn Gold Medal status.