April 3, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio: Former Ohio State greats Jesse Owens, Jack Nicklaus and Archie Griffin have been selected as three of the NCAA’s 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes as part of the NCAA’s current centennial celebration.
A total of 68 colleges and universities had student-athletes selected. Ohio State and UCLA were the only two schools to have two finishers in the top 10.
The list was compiled by a panel of college and university presidents, athletics directors, NCAA committee members, conference office representatives, SAAC representatives and NCAA staff.
Griffin, college football’s only two-time Heisman Trophy winner and now President of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, was 87th in the voting. Even though he completed his college career in 1975, he remains Ohio State’s all-time leading rusher with 5,589 yards.
Nicklaus, the winner of 18 major championships during his amazing professional career and one of golf’s most respected golf course designers, finished eighth in the balloting. The Columbus native is generally regarded as the greatest golfer of all time. No one in the game is held in higher esteem.
Owens, who set three world records and tied a fourth in the span of 75 minutes at the 1935 Big Ten track championships and then went on to win four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, was third. His showing in the former is regarded as one of the greatest athletic accomplishments of all time. His performance in the latter gave the world hope at a time when war clouds were hovering on the horizon.
“We are enormously proud of our program and the tremendous success our student-athletes have enjoyed over the years,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State’s Director of Athletics. “What a great honor to have three student-athletes selected to this list. And to have two finishers in the top 10 is extra special. Jack and Jesse are in with some very impressive company.
“Congratulations to Archie and Jack and to the Owens family. They have been, are and will continue to be, terrific ambassadors for The Ohio State University.”
Top Ten Finishers
1.) Jackie Robinson – UCLA
2.) Arthur Ashe – UCLA
3.) Jesse Owens – The Ohio State University
4.) Dwight David Eisenhower – United States Military Academy
5.) John Wooden – Purdue University
6.) Althea Gibson – Florida A&M University
7.) Madeline Albright – Wellesley College
8.) Jack Nicklaus – The Ohio State University
9.) Eunice Kennedy Shriver – Stanford
10.) Eddie Robinson – Grambling
For a complete listing of the top 100 go to the NCAA.org