Missouri football shared the 2014 SEC Sportsmanship Award, announced Thursday by the conference, with the Tennessee men’s basketball team.
The Tigers were recognized for how they “supported and protected” senior defensive end Michael Sam, who revealed his sexual orientation to his teammates at August’s preseason camp.
Sam, who was drafted by the Rams in the seventh round of the NFL Draft last month, did not want to discuss his sexual preference publicly during Missouri’s historic 2013 season, a request his teammates honored.
Sam went on to win The Associated Press’ SEC defensive player of the year for a Tigers team that won the SEC East division, played in the SEC Championship Game and outlasted Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl en route to a school-record 12 wins.
The SEC Sportsmanship Award is chosen through a vote of the conference’s athletic directors.
Georgia’s women’s equestrian team and the conference’s women’s golf coaches shared the women’s SEC Sportsmanship Award.
Golfers are All-Americans
Missouri senior Emilio Cuartero was chosen as a third-team All-American and junior Ryan Zech, a Kearney native, received honorable mention for Division I men’s golf.
Cuartero, a native of Spain, won the individual gold at the NCAA regional at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia. He was 15th at the national championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
Zech capped the season with three consecutive top-20 performances, including a ninth-place finish at the NCAA championship. He also placed 19th at the SEC Championship and 14th in NCAA regional play.
The University of Missouri System Board of Curators unanimously approved the 2014 Campus Master Plan at a meeting Thursday to discuss the 2015 fiscal year budget.
The Master Plan includes a new softball stadium, which will be built east of the Hearnes Center on Stadium Boulevard, as well a new full-length indoor training facility for football attached to the west side of the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex.
The new softball facility will take away parking spaces, but Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said last week that parking eventually would be added south of the existing lot.
The new indoor practice facility for football will be built where the outdoor practice fields currently are located.
Approval of the Master Plan is not the final one before construction begins. MU still will need approval for each project from the Board of Curators at a later meeting, a spokesman for the MU System told The Star.