BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Ole Miss and Vanderbilt baseball teams along with Tate Schroeder of the Missouri women's tennis team are recipients of the 10th annual Southeastern Conference Sportsmanship Awards, the league office announced Thursday. The honorees were selected by a vote of the SEC's 14 Directors of Athletics.
"There are many stories of sportsmanship, generosity and compassion on the part of Southeastern Conference student-athletes, and these two stories are indicative of a spirit that is prevalent in the SEC," said Commissioner Greg Sankey. "Integrity in competition and empathy for those in need are hallmark traits that exhibit the true character of an SEC student-athlete. We are proud of Tate and the Ole Miss and Vanderbilt baseball teams for setting a standard of excellence and being true to the spirit of athletic competition in the Southeastern Conference."
The Ole Miss and Vanderbilt baseball teams were named winners of the men's SEC Sportsmanship Award for their show of support for a grieving family during a baseball game this spring.
In August of 2016, the Oxford, Mississippi, community was struck with tragedy when a plane crash in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, claimed the lives of six people. The victims were three couples who left behind 11 children amongst them. One of the individuals lost in the incident was Dr. Jason Farese, a 1997 graduate of Vanderbilt University where he played baseball for the Commodores. He later earned a degree in dentistry from the University of Mississippi.
In March of 2017, the Ole Miss and Vanderbilt baseball teams came together in a game at Oxford to offer support for Farese's three children who were invited onto the field to meet the Ole Miss team. The oldest, Luke, joined in batting practice alongside the players and chased down fly balls during pre-game practice next to Ole Miss and Vanderbilt players.
Wearing an Ole Miss Baseball t-shirt and a Vanderbilt hat, Luke was joined on the field by his siblings to throw out the first pitch before they were welcomed back from the field by both teams with high fives and emotional embraces. For the National Anthem, the Farese children joined their father's alma mater along the first base line.
Tate Schroeder, a freshman tennis player at Missouri, earned the women's SEC Sportsmanship Award for her honesty and integrity during a tennis match against the University of Tennessee.
In a singles match for Missouri against the Volunteers, Schroeder was ahead 2-1 in the third and deciding set with the score at deuce. After a long rally, Schroeder's opponent hit a shot in the open court that hit the net and landed close to the line. As Schroeder turned to get her towel, the chair umpire called the score in Missouri's favor, 3-1. When Schroeder recognized the call that had been made, Schroeder told the chair umpire that she had not called the ball out and a correction was made to make it a 2-2 tie in the third. Tennessee ended up taking a 4-3 victory in the match.
"Tate is always going above and beyond over ruling herself on calls she feels are too close in practice and matches," said Missouri women's tennis coach Colt Gaston. "She is one of the most competitive people I know and always strives for excellence but doing it the right way is the most important thing for her."
Below is a list of all-time SEC Sportsmanship Award recipients:
2017 - Ole Miss and Vanderbilt Baseball Teams; Tate Schroeder, Missouri (Tennis)
2016 - Leonard Fournette, LSU (Football); Lloydricia Cameron, Florida (Track & Field); Kentucky Volleyball Team and Support Staff
2015 - Texas A&M Men's Basketball Team and Support Staff; Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina (Basketball)
2014 -Missouri Football Team; Tennessee Men's Basketball Team; Georgia Equestrian Team; SEC Women's Golf Coaches
2013 -Tennessee and South Carolina Football Teams; Maho Kowase, Georgia (Tennis)
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
2008 - Chris Lofton, Tennessee (Basketball); Jessica Yadloczky, Florida (Golf)