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Pitts Named Top-20 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar

Mar 16, 2021

Diverse Release

FAIRFAX, Va. – Shea Pitts of the UCLA football team has been named a top-20 candidate for the 2021 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year award, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education announced Monday.

In addition to their athletic ability, the students named 2021 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars are students of color who have maintained a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.5, are at least a sophomore academically, and have been active on their campuses or in their communities. Of the close to 1,000 scholar athletes nominated, one male and one female athlete will be selected as Sports Scholar of the Year.

Pitts, a reserve linebacker and staple on special teams for the Bruins, saw action in five games during the shortened 2020 season. He played in 23 of a possible 24 games throughout the two prior seasons, making his biggest splash in the latter of those campaigns. Pitts tallied 13 tackles, including the first sack of his career, in 2019. He also earned his first-career forced fumble.

The 2019 season additionally culminated in Pitts being named to the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll for the first time. The conference previously announced All-Academic Teams, which Pitts received honorable mention to in 2018. The political science major has made the UCLA Athletic Director's Honor Roll on nine occasions since enrolling in Fall 2017, posting a GPA of at least 3.0 while passing 12 or more units over the course of each quarter.

Active in his campus and local communities, Pitts has frequently served as a mentor to children from the Los Angeles Unified School District. In February, he, along with several teammates, encouraged students from 186th Street Elementary School to stay in school and attend college as part of "Super Bowl Spirit Day." He was honored virtually by the Gardena, Calif. school for his annual involvement in the event.

Pitts has given back in other ways, as well, helping to raise money for Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Los Angeles Blind Children's Center and victims of genocide in Myanmar through different on-campus endeavors.

On April 29, 2021, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education will publish its annual Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars special report edition. The 2021 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year semifinalists will be announced prior to publication date.

The top women (in alphabetical order) are:

    • Riley Agerbeek, San José State University, Water Polo
    • Jessica Drop, University of Georgia, Track/Cross Country
    • Lena Greene, Oregon State University, Gymnastics
    • Touri Holmes, Morgan State University, Bowling
    • Olivia Johnson, Southern Wesleyan University, Volleyball
    • Alisha Lau, University of Colorado Boulder, Golf
    • Savanna Ly-Nguyen, Washington State University, Tennis
    • Macy Somoskey, University of Mississippi, Golf
    • Chanel Thomas, University of Mississippi, Soccer
    • Mariah White, Cleveland State University, Basketball

The top men (in alphabetical order) are:

    • Samuel Cudjoe, Saint Augustine's University, Golf
    • Daniel Do, Stockton University, Track/Cross Country
    • Kamaka Hepa, The University of Texas at Austin, Basketball
    • D'Eriq King, University of Miami, Football
    • Paolo Marciano, Adelphi University, Soccer
    • Adrian Martinez, University of Nebraska Lincoln, Football
    • Andre Mintze, Vanderbilt University, Football
    • Shea Pitts, UCLA, Football
    • Jeronimo Valdepena, California State University, San Bernardino, Soccer
    • Tyler Williams, California State University, San Bernardino, Baseball