Aug 26, 2013
Ameenah Bey Shaw, representing track and field, talks about Auburn (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Alyse Scott takes this Auburn thing seriously.
"Personally, when I put on my jersey, I know I am playing for something more than myself. The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name of the back," said the redshirt freshman soccer player from Marietta, Ga., at Auburn's annual Tiger Tailgate dinner for athletes, coaches and support staff Monday night.
Almost 600 athletes and more than 200 others in Auburn athletics attended the dinner in Auburn Arena. But it was night dedicated to the athletes, a group that last year saw a school-record 304 of them achieve a 3.0 grade point average or higher.
"That’s a phenomenal level,” university president Jay Gogue told the athletes Monday.
Jacobs said it shows these students can combine athletics with academics.
"When we started this nine years ago, I did all the talking. Now, the student-athletes run the entire program," said Athletics Director Jay Jacobs. "It's fun to see the young men and women get in front of their peers. They do an outstanding job and it just renews your faith in Auburn students.
"These are the best and brightest athletes, and to hear them talk about Auburn it's really an encouragement, not only for the staff, but for the other athletes, especially for the first-time athletes who are here."
The dinner began as a meet-and-greet for athletes of the 21 sports. The new South Donahue Resident Hall puts many of these athletes together on a daily basis.
"There's a lot more camaraderie," Jacobs said. "When we started this was to allow athletes of one sport to meet athletes from another sport. It's still really fun for them to connect and start networking a little bit."
Gogue spoke of the athletic department's goals: winning, graduating, managing fiscal affairs, playing within the rules and providing a professional game-day experience.
He also offered a little advice.
"If any one of you does anything wrong, it’s front-page news. We want you to behave. You are truly a reflection of Auburn," he said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine