Illini Excel in the Classroom

  • 165 student-athletes were recognized by the conference as Academic All-Big Ten honorees.
  • 45 student-athletes were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars - earning a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year.

Academic Excellence

The goal of each sports program within the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Illinois is to strive toward success. The DIA has taken a comprehensive approach to the success of the student-athlete. The Illini Life Skills program is designed to meet the total needs of the student-athlete.

Sponsored by the NCAA, the Illini Life Skills program is comprised of five programming commitment areas viewed as critical to personal growth and development. The commitment areas are: academic excellence, athletic excellence, personal development, service to campus and surrounding communities and career development.

This comprehensive balance of academic excellence, athletic achievement and personal well-being is stressed daily by the staff and coaches. Inevitably, a student-athlete's playing days will end, but with the assistance of the Illini Life Skills program, each Fighting Illini athlete will be fully prepared for career and personal challenges ahead.

Presentations and workshops in many of the above areas can be ordered from the Illini Life Skills menu on an individual or team basis. Each program is tailored to the specific individual's request.

Among the elements stressed by the academic services department to assure student-athlete success are counseling and tutorial services, a monitoring program and state-of-the-art computer labs. The Irwin Academic Center, the former Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity house, opened as a center to consolidate academic services for student-athletes.

Athletic Excellence

Athletically, the University of Illinois has long supported a broad-based sports program. Its coaching staff and facilities are among the nation's best. The UI's support units included excellent staffs for recruiting, equipment, facilities maintenance, fund-raising, publicity and promotions. Its sports medicine staff not only assists student-athletes in strength training and conditioning, but also in personal health maintenance.

Personal Development

As important as the UI's commitment is to the student-athlete's performance in the classroom and on the field, it also considers the individual's spiritual and emotional needs, and his/her career objectives. Fighting Illini student-athletes are afforded the opportunity to attend a variety of seminars during their collegiate experience, helping them enhance their future following athletics. Among the seminars offered are those in career placement, financial planning, time and stress management, sexual harassment, drug and alcohol education and player/agent relations.


The DIA sponsors a Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), which is made up of representatives from all 19 Fighting Illini intercollegiate athletic teams. The DIA also organizes a program called "Hometown Heroes, which give Illini student-athletes the opportunity to participate in many different community service activities.

Career Development

The strong relationships built within the vast Illinois alumni networking system provide excellent opportunities for all student-athletes, whether it be for summer jobs, internships or in career placement after graduation. Once the individual's career is established, the DIA asks for participation in a follow-up program that allows student-athletes to benefit from their predecessors' experiences.

2013 Academic All-Big Ten

  • Cameron Rogers
    Industrial Engineering
  • Cole Smith
  • Vince Smurro
    Interdisciplinary Health
  • Jacob Tilsley
  • Alex Varga
  • Mike Wilner
    Computer Engineering

2013 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar

  • Cameron Rogers
    Industrial Engineering
  • Alex Varga

Bielfeldt Athletic Administration Building | 1700 S. Fourth St., Champaign, IL 61820 | Phone: 217.244.7012 | Fax: 217.244.9357