Four St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) programs are among the record number of schools recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) for team academic success. The AVCA announced that 762 teams earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2015-2016 season; breaking the previous year's total of 757 to set an all-time high.
On the list of winners were four programs from the SLIAC; Fontbonne University, Greenville College, Principia College, and Webster University. This is the third straight year Fontbonne has been honored while Greenville is making their fifth consecutive appearance and Webster their eight straight. In addition Fontbonne University and Webster University were recognized for reaching their Dig Pink fundraising goal this past year.
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.
"Congratulations to the coaches and institutions that won the 2016 AVCA Team Academic Award,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "It is no accident that a volleyball coaches association recognizes academic excellence as a team, rather than an individual, achievement. Players influence each other, both in execution on the court and discipline in the classroom.”
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 have increased every single year but two, while amassing a 475 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 762.
Girls high school led the way with the number of recipients of 260, an increase of 22 over last year. NCAA Division I honored 131 programs, while NCAA Division II reached a new record with a total of 119 honorees. NCAA Division III had the second-most honorees this year with a total of 140 schools, matching last year’s record number.
Prior to 2015-2016, only 26 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: Wheeling Jesuit University (NCAA Division II), California Lutheran University (NCAA Division III) and Columbia College (NAIA).
Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program's 24-year history, with exactly 7,640 awards been given out in total.
2015-16 BREAKDOWN BY CLASSIFICATION
Division Number of recipients
NCAA Division I Women 131
NCAA Division II Women 119
NCAA Division III Women 140
NAIA Women 54
Two-Year College 16
Collegiate Men 11
High School Girls 260 (1 sand)
High School Boys 22
College Beach 6
You can find 2015-16's list of recipients on our website by clicking here.