The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced today that 973 teams have earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2017-2018 season. This number breaks the previous year's total of 835 to set an all-time high.
The Peru State Bobcat volleyball team, which had a cumulative grade point average over 3.7, was among the top ten NAIA teams noted in the honors list.
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.
The AVCA Team Academic Award is the single largest award offered by quantity of schools, players and coaches honored. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients has increased every single year but two, while amassing a 619-team increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 973.
There were 49 NAIA schools. The top ten included two other schools from the Heart of America Athletic Conference – Baker (Kan.) and Graceland (Iowa). In addition, Midland joined Peru State as one of two top ten academic teams in Nebraska.
Girls high school led the way with 358 recipients, an increase of 81 over last year. Once again, NCAA Division III had the second-most honorees this year with a total of 173 schools, a 23-school increase over last year's record number. NCAA Division I honored jumped from 145 programs to 163, while NCAA Division II notched 128 honorees. High school boys and collegiate men's programs accrued 52 institutions with collegiate beach notching 23.
Prior to 2017-2018, only 34 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 that excelled in the classroom and on the court: University of Nebraska (NCAA Division I), Concordia University, St. Paul (NCAA Division II), and Lindsey Wilson College (NAIA).
This also marks the second year honoring schools that have a minimum Team Academic Award streak of 15 years, and also for schools that scored the highest GPAs in their respective divisions. In order for a school to be awarded as an honor roll recipient, their division had to reach a minimum number of nominations. For NCAA Division I, II, III, and girls high school, their nomination number allows for a top-25 honor roll. For NAIA women, a top-10, with two-year college, collegiate men, collegiate beach, and high school boys garnering a top-5.
Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program's 25-year history, with exactly 8,461 awards been given out in total.
Peru State head coach Laurie Schroeder was pleased with the acknowledgement of her team's academic success. Schroeder stated, "We discussed as a team at the beginning of the pre-season that while success on the court is important that we needed to also be successful in the classroom. The girls obviously took that to heart and earned this excellent honor."
The Bobcats will begin their fall practices on Monday, August 6. They will open the regular season against Midland on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. in Fremont.