While the volume of Alabama athletes making the team was slightly unusual, Kim Jacob's honor was remarkable in great part because it marks the sixth time that a Crimson Tide student-athlete has been named the Academic All-America of the Year and the fifth time in as many years.
"We're extremely pleased that Kim has continued our legacy of success when it comes to the Academic All-America of the Year program," Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle said. "And to lead the nation with six student-athletes on this year's Academic All-America At-Large teams is another point of tremendous pride. It's another example of Crimson Tide success at the highest level."
Jacob was joined on the first team by golfers Stephanie Meadow, Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt and tennis player Mary Anne Daines while gymnast Lauren Beers earned second-team honors. Jacob, Meadow and Whitsett all earned the honor for the second time.
Unlike the other Academic All-America teams (men's and women's soccer, basketball and track and field/cross country as well as baseball, football, softball and women's volleyball) which honor student-athletes from one sport, the at-large teams span several sports, making for a deeper and more challenging pool of candidates. The at-large team considers student-athletes from the sports of men's and women's fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming and diving, tennis, and water polo as well as men's volleyball and wrestling and women's bowling, field hockey, and rowing.
Overall, Alabama student-athletes have earned a school-record 11 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the 2013-14 academic year, with Jacob, Meadow, Daines, Whitsett, Wyatt and Beers joining softball players Molly Fichtner, Kaila Hunt, Haylie McCleney, and Ryan Iamurri, and soccer player Kendall Khanna.
"These latest Academic All-America honors are a testament not only to the importance our athletes and coaches put on academic excellence, but the great work that Jon Dever and his staff at our Center for Academic Student Services do on a daily basis," Battle said.
The Tide could add to this year's total when the Track and Field/Cross Country list comes out in late June. Alabama has three student-athletes who earned All-District IV honors and are on this year's national track and field ballot.
In addition to being the only school with a combined six honorees between the men's and women's Capital One Academic All-America At-Large teams, Alabama is also the only school with more than two first-team honorees. The Tide totaled five first-team honorees – three women and two men.
Alabama's women made history as the first school to put four student-athletes on the Academic All-American At-Large team in a year. The Tide was also the only school to have three women earn first-team honors.
On the men's side, Alabama was one of four schools to have two honorees and one of two, with New Mexico being the other, to have two student-athletes earn a place on the first team.
Kim Jacob, Stephanie Meadow, Cory Whitsett, Mary Anne Daines and Lauren Beers also earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average at their respective NCAA Championships, during their careers.
Kim Jacob, Stephanie Meadow, Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt were all part of national championship teams during their Alabama careers. Jacob helped lead Alabama to back-to-back NCAA Gymnastics titles in 2011 and 2012. Meadow was part of the Tide's first NCAA Women's Golf Championship in 2012 and Whitsett and Wyatt finished off their careers as part of Alabama's back-to-back NCAA Men's Golf Championships in 2013 and 2014.