July 10, 2008
2008 Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Center Valley, Pa. - Bucknell senior Jason Buursma was voted the 2008 Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich announced on Thursday. Buursma earned the Patriot League's highest honor after being named the 2008 Patriot League Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The scholar-athlete award caps an extraordinary season on and off the field for Buursma. After earning the Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor, he received national recognition as an ESPN The Magazine First-Team Academic All-American as a designated hitter, after also earning a spot on the First-Team Academic All-District list. Buursma was one of 10 national finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, and departs the Bison as a two-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and six-time honoree to the Dean's List at Bucknell. He compiled a 3.64 cumulative grade-point average as an Economics major with a Philosophy minor. Buursma studied abroad at Oxford in the fall of his junior year.
Buursma earned numerous honors for an outstanding season on the field that helped Bucknell to the Patriot League Championship. He was named to the Dick Howser Trophy and Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award watch lists, ending up as one of 16 finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award. He was the only student-athlete in the country to be up for both of the honors along with the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Buursma was named a Third-Team All-American by ABCA/Rawlings and Pro-Line Athletic/NCBWA, while receiving second-team honors on the All-Ping! Baseball Team. He was also named the NCBWA District I Player of the Year, and earned a spot on the ECAC All-Star second team.
The national honors came after one of the most storied seasons in Patriot League Baseball annals. Buursma became the first baseball player in League history to earn Player of the Year, Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Tournament Most Valuable Player honors, carrying the Bison to the Patriot League title by earning the win in relief in all four of Bucknell's triumphs in the Patriot League Tournament. He was a First-Team All-Patriot League selection in the outfield, and finished his career in the top 10 in Patriot League history in five single-season and three career categories. He holds the League's all-time earned run average record (2.13) after finishing his career with 17.1 scoreless innings, and is fourth in career home runs (24) and third in career saves (15). Buursma was a five-time All-Patriot League selection during his career at Bucknell, tied for the second-most in League history.
Buursma led the Patriot League with a 2.58 ERA in 2008, while posting a League-high nine wins (9-3) and tying for the League high with 78 strikeouts in 83.2 innings pitched. He batted .367 with a League-best 13 home runs along with 37 RBI and 37 runs scored. Buursma won the Christy Mathewson Award, which is presented annually to the top athlete in Bucknell's entire senior class. He was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, and is currently a relief pitcher for the Single-A Batavia Muckdogs.
Buursma is the fourth Bucknell student-athlete to win the Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor, and first since Ron Hess (indoor and outdoor track and field) claimed the award in 2000. Other previous winners from Bucknell include Bob Kelly (indoor track and field), who won the inaugural honor in 1992, and David Berardinelli (football), who shared the award with Colgate's Ray Appenheimer in 1993. Bucknell matches Colgate and Navy with the most all-time Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year winners with four. Buursma also becomes the third baseball student-athlete to win the award, following Navy's Toby Moore (1995) and Trevor Thompson (2005).
The winner of each sport's Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is put in the running towards the Patriot League Male and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, with the League's sports information directors selecting one male and one female for the award. Others in contention for the Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award were Army seniors Dan Newell (soccer) and Eddie Kang (tennis) and juniors Scott Rosenshein (lacrosse) and Kevin Kumlien (outdoor track and field), Colgate sophomore Lyle Tolli (indoor track and field), Georgetown senior Kyle Van Fleet (football), Lafayette senior Matt Betley (basketball), Lehigh junior Dan Johnson (swimming) and Navy seniors John Kress (cross country) and Chris Renninger (golf).
To be eligible for the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average and be a starter or key player in his/her sport. Freshmen are not eligible for this honor.