May 24, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State’s Victor Ojeleye has been named the male winner of the 2012 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award in a joint announcement by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine and the NCAA.
As the male winner, Ojeleye will be profiled in the latest edition of Diverse, which goes on sale today. He was selected the winner from over 600 minority candidates nominated by their respective institutions, including 10 male finalists. He was one of five Big 12 Conference student-athletes named as finalists for the award – the most from one conference – and included Emmanuel Acho (Texas, football), Chelsea Garcia (Oklahoma State, softball), Krista Lopez (Oklahoma State, soccer) and Beth West (Texas A&M, soccer).
“This award is not something I would have ever dreamed of receiving, but because of God’s grace and the support of family, friends and K-State, I have been honored to receive it,” said Ojeleye. “I am truly in the company of great past recipients and I am fortunate to be able to represent my family with such a distinction. I am very thankful for this and appreciate it greatly. It is an honor and a privilege.”
The Sports Scholar Award was established in 1992 by Black Issues in Higher Education, now Diverse, to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr. To be nominated, student-athletes must compete in an intercollegiate sport, maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 and be active on their campuses or their communities.
"Victor exemplifies the term student-athlete and has represented Kansas State University with the utmost dignity and class throughout his academic and athletic career,” said athletics director John Currie. "Without question his selfless leadership and support of his teammates and coaches has played a major role in our on-court success over his career. His determination and commitment to daily improvement in the classroom and in life serves as a model for not only K-State student-athletes but also for his colleagues across the nation."
A native of Ottawa, Kan., Ojeleye was a leader on and off the court during his playing career (2008-12). A four-year lettermen and two-time captain for the Wildcat basketball team, he is a part of the winningest senior class in school history with 96 victories. He helped the school to four consecutive postseason appearances, including three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Ojeleye is one of just seven players in school history to earn first team academic all-conference honors three times in a career and the first since Josh Reid (1997-2000). He was named to the Fall and Spring Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Rolls each of the past four years. During the 2010-11 athletics season, he earned the inaugural Dr. Gerald Lage Award from the Big 12, which is given to student-athletes who have earned 100 or more hours of credit with a cumulative 3.8 GPA. In addition, he was elected by his peers to serve as Vice-Chair of the Big 12’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) during the 2011-12 athletics season.
Ojeleye graduated from Kansas State earlier this month with a dual degree in accounting and finance.
Past winners of the Sports Scholar Award include Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III (2011), ESPN analyst and former Tennessee standout Kara Lawson (2003) and NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk (1993).
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education is the nation’s only news magazine dedicated exclusively to diversity issues in higher education. For more information, visit www.diverseeducation.com.