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NOTEBOOK: USF launches BOOST program to assist student-athletes in building their personal brands

USF and INFLCR are furthering their already existing relationship to better prepare the university’s student-athletes for promoting their own brands. @USFATHLETICS/TWITTER

The Florida’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) bill will take effect July 1, allowing student-athletes to earn money off of their name, image and likeness, something that has previously not been allowed in NCAA athletics.

To coincide with this, USF Athletics has partnered with INFLCR to launch the BOOST program, designed to teach student-athletes through different NIL programs about “brand-building and management assets, education and financial literacy and a streamlined fair market value evaluation and compliance exchange.”

The BOOST program will allow student-athletes at USF to have access to tools which can expand their reach, and INFLCR’s platform will give them “educational support, social media measurement tools and other critical elements for brand growth.”

INFLCR assists over 1,000 college and professional programs and helps over 40,000 each day with expanding their respective brands.

USF Athletics tweeted a promotion of the BOOST launch June 14.

Eight track and field team members earn All-American nods from U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association

Freshmen Shaniya Benjamin and Zahria Allers-Liburd, sophomore Kadesha Prescott, juniors Patricija Roshofa, Jae’Nisa Heckstall and Stone Baker, senior Duncan Agyemang and graduate student Gabrielle DesRosiers all played a part in the USF track and field team earning 11 All-American nods for what they accomplished during the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field season.

Benjamin, who is from Tampa, earned three All-American distinctions in her freshman season.

The 11 All-American honors are a program record, surpassing the old record of six which was posted in 2000.

“The All-American recognitions earned by our student-athletes are a testament to their hard work and dedication,” coach Erik Jenkins said in a press release Tuesday. “They have traversed a very unique year and persevered many challenges to earn the right to compete against the best at the national championship.

“We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to steadily building upon this year’s success.”

Bergstrom, Corrick earn Student-Athlete of the Year awards, Eriksen to be inducted to Sports Club of Tampa Bay’s Hall of Fame

Each year one female and one male student-athlete are tabbed as the Student-Athletes of the Year, and 2021’s recipients are softball pitcher Georgina Corrick and golfer Albin Bergstrom.

Corrick and Bergstrom will be honored at the 37th annual Sports Club of Tampa Bay Hall of Fame Induction Banquet. Softball coach Ken Eriksen will also be inducted into the club’s hall of fame the same day.

Corrick pitched 228.1 innings in 2021 and had a collegiate best 0.98 ERA. She also tallied a career-high 333 strikeouts and was named a Third Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Association.

Bergstrom won the AAC conference tournament and was a unanimous selection to the All-Conference team for what he was able to do in 2021, in addition to earning a PING All-Southeast Region selection by the Golf Coaches Association.

As for Eriksen, he is being honored for what he has been able to accomplish over his career. Since becoming the head coach of the USF softball team in 1997, Eriksen has led the Bulls to multiple NCAA postseason appearances including four Super Regional trips, a College World Series appearance and seven conference championships.

Brabencova to leave women’s basketball team in pursuit of European professional career

Wing Kristyna Brabencova, whose hometown is Brno, Czech Republic, has opted to return to Europe to pursue a professional career, according to a post on her Instagram.

“First I would like to thank everyone at the University of South Florida for the past two years,” Brabencova said in her post. “It was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience and I would not change a thing. I have faced many challenges, a lot of ups and downs throughout the last year.

“This made me change my perspective on life and made me realize how important some things are in life, especially health. With all of this being said I have decided to pursue my basketball journey back in Europe as a pro-baller.”

Brabencova opened up last season about being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in February 2020, which she spoke to the Tampa Bay Times about in a story from January.

The defender appeared in 21 games for the Bulls last season and made two starts. Over that time she averaged 4.2 points and oftentimes found herself coming off the bench and guarding some of the best perimeter players on the opposing team.

288 student-athletes named to athletics honor roll

As the 2021 spring semester comes to a close, 288 student-athletes across USF Athletics earned the athletics honor roll distinction.

Additionally, 15 of USF’s 17 athletic programs had a cumulative spring GPA over 3.0, and 14 programs earned a GPA over 3.0 for the academic year.

For the 2020-21 academic year, the athletic programs posted an overall GPA of 3.23, making it the second year in a row where the programs earned a collective GPA over 3.2.

Over the past 10 years, the Athletic Department has posted seven years in which the overall GPA for the full academic year was over a 3.0.

“Our USF student-athletes continue to make us very proud with their commitment and achievement in the classroom,” Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said. 

“Our talented academics staff continues to provide support at a nation-leading level and our coaches, staff and university continue to make academic achievement a top priority and work to ensure our student-athletes achieve their goals.”