BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (SEC) – University of Florida senior tennis student-athlete Joanna Mather, University of Georgia junior soccer player Laura Eddy and University of Arkansas senior tennis player Matt Walters are recipients of the 5th annual SEC Sportsmanship Award, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced Tuesday. The winners will be forwarded for nomination to the NCAA for its national sportsmanship awards, to be announced in July.
The two were chosen by a vote of the SEC Directors of Athletics. Mather and Eddy are co-recipients of the female award and Walters is the recipient of the male honor.
"Demonstrating good sportsmanship is something that will benefit student-athletes for years after their athletic careers are completed," said Slive. "Participation in sports teaches life's lessons that benefit all who takes part in it. I congratulate Joanna, Laura and Matt for showing good sportsmanship and earning this prestigious honor."
Walters was a team captain of the Razorback tennis squad and the team representative to Arkansas' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. This fall, during a tournament held at Rice University, he had his sportsmanship moment competing against LSU's Matt Zachary. With the score 4-2, Walters won the next point to make the score 5-2. However, Zachary thought the score was 6-2 and was set to concede the game. Walters had to convince Zachary that the game was indeed not over, and the two proceeded to finish the game. He subsequently lost the match to Zachary.
The Jonesboro, Ark. native was voted his team's Sportsmanship Award recipient for 11-12. According to the nomination form, "Matt Walters is true Razorback and consistently exhibited this type of behavior throughout his career. "
Last year, South Carolina track and field athlete Louis Day and the Ole Miss Softball team were recipients of the SEC Sportsmanship Award. Day went on to become the recipient of the NCAA Sportsmanship Award.
Below is a list of SEC Sportsmanship recipients:
2012 – Matt Walters, Arkansas (Tennis); Joanna Mather, Florida (Tennis); Laura Eddy, Georgia (Soccer)
2011 – Louis Day, South Carolina (Track & Field); Ole Miss Softball Team
2010 – Rodney Scott, Ole Miss (Football); Sam Arbaugh, South Carolina (Softball)
2009 – Dorian Ulrey, Arkansas (Track & Field); Alabama Women's Tennis Team