Volleyball Earns Academic Award

Volleyball Earns Academic Award
Barry's volleyball team received the AVCA Academic Award for the 2011-12 school year. Photo by Joel Auerbach

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Barry University's volleyball team earned American Volleyball Coaches Association Academic Award honors for the 2011-12 school year.

The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate men's and women's and high school boys and girls volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

A total of 533 teams received the award, breaking the previous year's total of 481, to set an all-time high. Barry was one of 67 NCAA Division II women's programs who received the award.

“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,” AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer said. “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 102 programs while Division III easily surpassed last year’s record of 57 winners with 67 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 this year’s 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 4,827 awards been given out in total. Only two institutions, both high schools, have earned the distinction all 20 years: Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro, Arkansas) and Ross S. Sterling High School (Baytown, Texas).

Division Number of recipients    Percent       Breakdown*
NCAA Division I Women               102               19.14%
NCAA Division II Women                67               12.57%
NCAA Division III Women               90               16.89%
NAIA Women                                  33                  6.19%
Two-Year College Women              13                  2.44%
NCCAA Women                               1                   0.19%
NCAA Collegiate Men                      7                   1.31%
High School (Girls and Boys)         220              41.28%
High School Girls                           198
High School Boys                            22

* Percentage is based on each category’s breakdown of the total 2011-2012 Team Academic recipients.