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AUM - Mon. Nov. 19, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. ---- For the third time in as many years, the Auburn University at Montgomery athletic department has received the Champions of Character Five Star Award, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced recently.

The Warhawks earned 73 points on its 2011-12 Champions of Character Scorecard, a mark which ranked fifth among members of the Southern States Athletic Conference. To qualify for the award, institutions must score 60 points or better for the academic year.

"I am extremely proud of our coaching staff and our student-athletes in the recognition of this award," AUM Athletic Director Steve Crotz said. "The coaches at AUM embrace the teaching of life skills and five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character. This honor rewards the success of our student-athletes in their academic performance, on the field sportsmanship and community outreach involvement. I am proud of the commitment to the development of the total person by our dedicated staff."

Composed of nearly 300 schools across the nation, the NAIA awarded 220 Five Star Awards, with AUM's total finishing in the top 40 percent. In all, 13 members from the SSAC earned the distinction. Joining the Warhawks as Five-Star Institutions from the SSAC were Spring Hill (82), Southern Wesleyan (79), Brewton-Parker (78), Faulkner (76), Mobile (74), Loyola (71), Truett-McConnell (71), Emmanuel (70), Southern Poly (70), William Carey (65) and Belhaven (64). The SSAC was one of 23 conferences to earn the Champions of Character Five-Star Conference award.

More than 80 percent of NAIA member institutions were honored as Five-Star Institutions. Montana Tech tallied the most points, earning a perfect 100. Carroll College (Mont.) finished second with 96 points, while Paul Quinn (Texas), University of Saint Francis (Ind.) and Xavier (La.) finished tied for third with 91 points.

The Scorecard process is based on the NAIA's flagship program Champions of Character, which emphasizes the five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. Points are earned based on an institution's character training (52%), conduct in competition (20%), character recognition (14%), academic focus (8%) and character promotion (6%). Institutions earned points based on exceptional student-athlete grade point averages and by obtaining zero ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year.