Murray, Nemechek Named Gautt Scholarship Recipients

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The Big 12 Conference announced the recipients of the 2014-15 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarships on Tuesday afternoon, with 20 Big 12 student-athletes receiving the honor. K-State's 2014-15 honorees were Meggie Murray of the rowing team and Zach Nemechek of the football team.

Murray, from Overland Park, Kansas, is a four-year letter winner who has rowed on K-State's top boat, 1v8, for the last four seasons. She is a two-time All-Big 12 Second Team selection (2013 and 2014) who helped the Wildcats to a silver medal at the Big 12 Championships in 2014 and a bronze in 2015. She is also helped K-State to a pair of SIRA gold medals.

In the classroom, Murray majored in dietetics during her time in Manhattan. She was recognized for her outstanding work as a four-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, a three-time CRCA National Scholar-Athlete, a 2014 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award recipient and has been a member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll in every semester of her attendance at K-State.

Nemechek, from Quinter, Kansas, is a four-year letter winner who played in 50 career games and was a member of the 2014 senior class that concluded their careers with a 38-14 combined record, including a Big 12-best 27-9 conference record. He saw an increased role as an upperclassman as both a fullback and tight end, as he played in all 13 games in 2014 which included a three-yard rush against Kansas.

In the classroom, Nemechek was a life sciences major. He was a four-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team, a 2014 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award recipient and has been a member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll in every semester of his attendance at K-State.

The scholarships are named in honor of the late Dr. Prentice Gautt, a former Big 12 Conference staff member and student services' pioneer who passed away in March 2005. The list of all-time recipients has grown to 348 since the inception of the league in 1996-97. Starting in 2002-03, additional funding increased scholarship award winners to two per member institution.

To date the Big 12 has provided over $2.5 million for postgraduate education. The individual grants began at $2,500 in 1996-97, were raised to $5,000 in 1999 and increased to $6,900 for 2004-05. The awards climbed to $7,500 in 2006-07, moved to $9,000 in 2011-12 and are now at $10,000 since 2013-14.

Criteria for the awards includes a cumulative grade point average of 3.200 on a 4.000 scale, participation in at least two years of intercollegiate athletics at the nominee's respective institution and completion of athletics' eligibility. The student-athletes also must graduate from their respective member institutions within 15 months of their selection for a postgraduate scholarship and are expected to enroll in graduate/professional schools within two years of graduation. Three faculty representatives, one senior woman administrator and one director of athletics form the selection panel for the awards.

K-State has had another outstanding academic year in 2014-15. A total of five student-athletes were Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award winners, while 269 were named to the Fall 2014 Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll, the most since 2008, as more than half of all Wildcat student-athletes achieved a 3.0 or higher GPA. K-State saw 82 student-athletes graduate this past fall and spring, while 125 earned Academic All-Big 12 distinction this year.