<strong>LOGAN– </strong>Former Aggie offensive guard Funaki Asisi (Foo-knock-ee Ah-see-see) has been awarded a scholarship by the NCAA that will help him complete his degree in physical education and receive teacher certification after finishing his five years of athletic eligibility.
The NCAA Division I Degree-Completion Award Program was established in 1989 to assist student-athletes who could not complete their education during their five-year eligibility period. Eligible applicants must have competed at a Division I institution, have received athletics-related aid, and be within 30 semester hours of completion of his or her degree. Recipients of the award will receive a scholarship equivalent to tuition, fees and books for the courses enrolled in to complete their degrees.
“Utah State has a record of success with our post-eligible student-athletes being awarded the NCAA Degree Completion grant,” said Dr. Brian Evans, associate athletics director for student-athlete services. “Every recipient has been successful in completing their degree and graduating, which is a tremendous advantage when the NCAA reviews Utah State applications for these awards.”
Asisi spent five years as a part of the Utah State football program after redshirting his first season and sitting out the majority of his sophomore season after a wrist injury. He went on to start all but one game his junior and senior seasons. He was named to both the Athlon Sports College Football Preview Preseason all-WAC second-team and the all-WAC Phil Steele’s College Football Preview Preseason third-team prior to his senior season.
“It has been a long road for me at Utah State, but the experiences I’ve had on this road are among some of the best in my life,” Asisi said. “I feel privileged and honored to receive this award and look forward to the opportunity it brings me. It has been a nerve-racking summer, I have been crossing my fingers, hoping to get this award. Now that I have been selected, all I can say is that I am truly grateful.”
The program currently gives awards to between 40 and 45 percent of the applicants. To date, more than $17 million has been given to approximately 2,400 deserving student-athletes. Of those student-athletes who have received the award since its inception, 95 percent have earned their undergraduate degree using the award.
The program is administered by the NCAA Degree-Completion Award consultants, who represent seven Division I member institutions and are from varying fields at their institution, such as directors of athletics, financial aid directors, faculty athletics representatives and others. These consultants review every application that is received and choose the recipients.
Previous Utah State student-athletes who have received the NCAA Degree Completion Award include Brenen Burningham (football), Logan Moore (track & field), Antonio Newson (football), Melissa Osterloh (volleyball) and Jess Schuck (football).