STAMFORD, Conn. - - On Sunday, July 20, people across America will meet a multi-talented group of sports heroes as Dick Enberg hosts "Students of the Game," a TV special that honors members of the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame. The 30-minute program, which will air on NBC at 3:30 p.m. EDT, gives an insight into the priority that top sports personalities place on their education.
"Each year, the GTE Academic All-America program honors a very special group of young men and women . . . individuals whose personal quest for academic and athletic excellence is worthy of special recognition," said Charles R. Lee, the chairman and chief executive officer of GTE, the sponsor of the show.
In addition to highlighting the Academic All-America and Hall of Fame programs, Enberg interviews a distinguished group of sports figures, including Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who presented a Hall of Fame award this year to Todd Blackledge, a former Penn State quarterback; former UCLA star Bill Walton, a Hall of Fame inductee in 1994; and decorated pilot Lt. Col. Michelle Johnson, the first Rhodes Scholar at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Also featured are former Olympic swimmer Tracy Caulkins Stockwell and ex-football great Lee Roy Selmon, as well as a look at how some of todays student-athletes deal with pressures to excel academically and athletically.
"The members of the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame are all heroes," Enberg said. "They have balanced extraordinary athletic skill with a desire to succeed in the classroom, plus a commitment to community service. This program gives an inspirational look at many of societys true champions."
"Students of the Game" was produced by Millsport, the Connecticut-based sports marketing agency that helps coordinate GTEs sports sponsorship activities.
The GTE Academic All-America Teams are selected by a vote of the 1,800-member College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). To be eligible, an athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.20 on a scale of 4.00. Sports information directors nominate eligible athletes from their schools who are named to district teams prior to being voted upon on the national level. CoSIDA has been selecting Academic All-America teams since 1952.
GTE has been the exclusive sponsor of the Academic All-America program since 1985. With revenues of more than $21 billion in 1996, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. In the United States, GTE offers local and wireless service in 29 states and long-distance service in all 50 states. GTE was the first among its peers to offer "one-stop shopping" for local, long-distance and Internet access services.
To extend its support of college athletics, in 1996 GTE became the "Official Telecommunications Consultant to the NCAA," as well as the Pacific-10, Big Ten and Big 12 Conferences.