As CSI Athletics gets ready to open a new chapter of their NCAA Division II sports history in 2021-2022, they go in having closed out 2020-2021 with high academic honors, as the East Coast Conference has named three CSI teams as Academic Teams of Excellence, while a total of more than 70 student-athletes made the Commissioner’s Honor Roll. The accolades are more feathers in the cap of a CSI Athletics program that continues its tradition as a scholar-athlete-driven institution. CSI’s three Academic Teams of Excellence were Men’s Basketball, Men’s Indoor Track and Field, and Men’s Outdoor Track and Field.

Associate Director of Athletics for NCAA Compliance Erin Van Nostrand, who is responsible for reporting CSI’s academic numbers to the conference and the NCAA, acknowledged how impressive the honors were, given the COVID-stricken sports seasons in 2020-2021, and the challenges of a remote learning environment. It’s a testament to our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, especially with most teams not being able to compete,” she said. “They were able to have success in the classroom as a team and it shows we are heading in the right direction as a Division II program.”

For the ECC Academic Team of Excellence Award, teams must achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, while recipients of the Commissioner’s Honor Roll must achieve a 3.25 or higher individually. The 2020-2021 season was CSI’s first official year of eligibility for the honors, and their three teams honored ranked second in the conference, behind only Molloy College (7). 

Leading the way for CSI were the Track and Field programs, led by Head Coach Andrew Gangemi. The outdoor unit boasts a 3.34 cumulative GPA, while the outdoor program is just a hair behind at 3.33. “Our goal at the start of any season is to prioritize academics,” said Gangemi, whose outdoor unit did manage to have a very abridged season in 2021. “Our team competes hard in the classroom each year and it’s a goal of ours to reach academic excellence each year.”

Former Head Men’s Basketball Coach and current Interim Director of Athletics T.J. Tibbs had this to say about the accomplishments, “Whenever we can be recognized academically here in our Athletic program, it’s a monumental occasion. Academics are always our number-one priority and our student-athletes have performed admirably, especially with the circumstances they were given this past year.”

CSI also saw 70 student-athletes named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll, also one of the highest totals in the ECC. It’s an impressive number, as it represents nearly 40% of CSI’s total number of student-athletes. Every CSI program was represented on the Honor Roll, with at least five players selected from every team. Women’s Soccer scored the most Honor Roll recipients with 13 players selected, while Men’s Cross Country/T&F was second with 11 players selected and third was Softball with ten players selected. The full list of honorees can be found online.

By Joseph Mascia