Shanay Portis Honored as Scholar Baller

Feb. 5, 2013

CINCINNATI – The Scholar Baller program, in conjunction with the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS), recently announced the recipients of the Academic Momentum Award. University of Cincinnati’s Shanay Portis, a member of the women’s track and field team, was one of 28 First Team honorees. Eighty-nine nominations were received from 30 different colleges and universities across the country. The nominations were divided into three teams based on the level of academic improvement and the impact of that academic momentum on each nominee and his or her peers. A total of 28 male and female award recipients from the NCAS schools were chosen for team one, 17 recipients were chosen for team two and 19 recipients for the third team.

Portis, a Springfield, Ohio native, is a senior, criminal justice major. In spite of coming to UC as an at-risk student, Portis is on pace to graduate in four years with a cumulative grade point average of over 3.2.

“Shanay never allowed her academic background to be a stumbling block,” advised Cassaundra Thorpe, UC’s director of student-athlete development and the one who nominated Portis. “Her hard work and dedication in both the classroom and on the track make her very deserving of this honor.”

Portis has not only experienced marked success in the classroom; she has been a standout athlete on the track. In 2012 she finished sixth in the 60-meter dash and seventh in the 200-meter dash at the BIG EAST Championship. She was also on relay teams that hold school records in the indoor 4x400-meter (3:44:30), the outdoor 4x100-meter (44.84) and the outdoor 4x400-meter (3:37.93). Portis is also the team captain in this, her senior, season.

Established in 1985, the overall mission of the NCAS is “to create a better society by focusing on educational attainment and using the power appeal of sport to positively affect social change.”



The Scholar Baller movement, which was established in 1995, evolved in response to concerns that the student-athlete’s athletics role increasingly superseded the student role. In order to address this issue, the founding members of Scholar Baller developed a groundbreaking program to bridge the gap between education and sport utilizing student-athletes’ passion for entertainment and athletics. As a result, the Scholar Baller program has produced unprecendented outcomes in student retention and academic achievement.

Each award recipient will receive a recognition certificate; the second and first team will also receive an authentic Scholar Baller medal, while nominees who made the first team will also receive a ThinkMan/ThinkWoman trophy.

For the complete list of honorees click here: Scholar Baller Award