Ojeleye wins Arthur Ashe Scholar honor

By The Mercury

Kansas State’s Victor Ojeleye has been named the male winner of the 2012 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award in a joint announcement Thursday 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 went on sale Thursday.  He was selected the winner from more than 600 minority candidates nominated by their respective institutions, including 10 male finalists. 

Ojeleye was one of five Big 12 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,” Ojeleye said in a release.  “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,” K-State athletic director John Currie said in the release.  “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, 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. 

Ojeleye helped the school to four consecutive postseason appearances, including three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in 2010-12.

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.

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