Champions of Character

Named an NAIA Five-Star Champions of Character School with Prestigious Gold Status

The University of Saint Mary has been named a Five-Star Champions of Character institution with gold status by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), an award recognizing USM’s dedication to excellent athletics and building outstanding student-athletes.

The program honors NAIA member institutions for instilling five core Champions of Character values in their student-athletes: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.

According to the NAIA, member schools were graded on demonstrated commitment to the program—earning points in five categories: character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition, and character promotion. Schools earned additional points based on exceptional student-athlete GPAs and no game ejections during the academic year.

Only 66 schools earned gold status this year—and Saint Mary was one of four in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference team earning this top recognition.

“We’re very proud of this honor from the NAIA,” said USM Athletic Director Rob Miller. “This award speaks to the caliber of our student-athletes, and the efforts of our coaches to develop each athlete into a well-rounded adult. Our students come here to compete in their sport at a very high level, but ultimately, each one comes here to build a future.”

Launched over a decade ago, the Champions of Character program was built to monitor schools’ progress toward advancing character-driven intercollegiate athletics. The initiative supports performance-driven athletics while defining expectations and standards for successful teams and athletics departments.

For more on the Champions of Character Program at USM, contact Troy Katen, associate athletic director, at 913-758-6265 or [email protected].