LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 24, 2009) − The University of Kentucky joined with the 11 other Southeastern Conference institutions today in the launch of the SEC Academic Network, a Web site (www.secacademicnetwork.com) designed to promote academic endeavors of SEC universities that is being established by the SEC in partnership with ESPN and the member universities.
"I am proud of how the Southeastern Conference is taking a national leadership position in leveraging our outstanding athletic programs to showcase our academic all-stars that perform at a world-class level in SEC classrooms and laboratories every day," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr., who also serves as president of the SEC Executive Committee. "At UK, I have been a proponent of utilizing our athletic prowess to shine a brighter light on our lesser-known scholarly accomplishments. The new SEC Academic Network takes that marketing philosophy to a whole new level."
"Under the direction of Dr. Todd, this university is on its way to a Top 20 research institution nationally," said UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart. "In this pure academic-athletic relationship, we’re grateful that the SEC has leveraged its strength to provide this platform to highlight the great academic feats that UK achieves every day."
The Academic Network, developed using technology and coordination from ESPN Digital Media and Origin Digital, will feature content from every institution ranging from research, innovation and economic development to community partnerships, civic engagement and service.
"The commitment to highlight the accomplishments of SEC member institution academic programs was a key component of our new television agreements," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "We are grateful to ESPN for bringing the expertise and tools they use in sports media to our institutions in support of academic pursuits."
The Web site, www.secacademicnetwork.com, was launched today.
"This network will provide our 12 institutions with the ability to create and distribute academic and other non‑athletic programming throughout the world on a regular and full‑time basis," said Slive.
On the Web site, each institution has its own page that includes videos categorized by topic. Alumni, fans and students worldwide now have the ability in one place to learn more about SEC academics through video features that are posted by the league institutions.
The Academic Network is a component of the SEC’s 15-year television package with ESPN, which is the most comprehensive in the history of intercollegiate athletics. Also part of ESPN’s commitment to SEC academic programs is the production of an annual Campus Connection telecast at each SEC institution, in which students take part in the production; telecasts of two programs annually dedicated to the academic accomplishments of SEC student-athletes; a weekly academic feature segment on ESPNU’s SEC show; and selection of one undergraduate student from every SEC institution to participate in ESPN’s summer internship program.