LEXINGTON, Ky. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced that 535 teams have earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2011-2012 season. The Greenville College volleyball squad was one of just two SLIAC institutions to receive this designation. The 535 teams once again bettered the previous year's total of 481 and set a new all-time high for this award.
"It's an honor for our team to receive this award," said head coach Tom Ackerman. "I am so proud of the girls for making academics a priority."
The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.
"Many coaches tell us they take more pride in and hear more positive feedback about winning the AVCA Team Academic Award than anything else they do all year," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "While it is undeniable that the sport we coach is zero-sum on the scoreboard, it is a tool for empowerment on other fronts. The 533 coaches whose teams won this academic award understand the value of both playing to win and winning through play. A well-deserved congratulations to each team and coach!"
The Team Academic Award has become one of the AVCA's fastest growing awards programs, seeing an impressive surge in teams honored over the past several years. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients has increased every single year but one, while amassing an overall 200% increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the award has risen by an astounding 760%. NCAA Division I recorded their highest-ever total number of recipients, honoring 103 programs while Division II easily surpassed last year's record of 57 winners with 69 this year. Division III also set a new record with 90 winners and the high school division increased their all-time high of 192 recipients to 220. Finally, the NCAA men broke new ground landing a record seven schools on the final AVCA Team Academic Award list.
Prior to 2011-12, only 13 teams had attained the pinnacle of volleyball success in both earning the AVCA Team Academic Award and winning their respective collegiate national championship in the same academic year. This year, the AVCA is proud to recognize three programs -- Concordia University-St. Paul (NCAA Division II), Cowley College (NJCAA Division II) and Clearwater Christian College (NCCAA Division II) - all three of whom excelled in the classroom and on the court.
Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program's 20-year history, with exactly 4,828 awards been given out in total. Only two institutions, both high schools, have earned the distinction all 19 years: Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro, Arkansas) and Ross S. Sterling High School (Baytown, Texas).
BREAKDOWN BY CLASSIFICATION
|Division||Number of recipients||Percent Breakdown*|
|NCAA Division I Women||103||19.14%|
|NCAA Division II Women||69||12.57%|
|NCAA Division III Women||90||16.89%|
|Two-Year College Women||13||2.44%|
|High School (Girls and Boys)||220||41.28%|