NEW ORLEANS (Sun Belt) - Five Sun Belt Conference volleyball teams and one northeast Arkansas high school earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for their efforts in the classroom during the 2010-11 school year, as announced by the AVCA on Wednesday.
Arkansas State, UALR, Denver, North Texas and Western Kentucky were named to the list out of 92 NCAA Division I institutions earning the honor.
Jonesboro High continued their streak, being honored for the 19th consecutive 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.
"A hearty congratulations to all the volleyball coaches whose teams won the 2011 AVCA Team Academic Award," said AVCA Executive Director, Kathy DeBoer. "Teams do not succeed in the classroom by accident any more so than they do on the court. The same coach who taught them volleyball skills cared enough about their academic achievement to gather their grades, calculate their GPA, and submit a nomination on their behalf. In doing so, these coaches sent a clear message that classroom success is just as important as court success. All involved should celebrate this award!"
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 170% increase over the span of the decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the award has risen by an astounding 674%.
Prior to 2010-11, only 11 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.
Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program's 19-year history, with exactly 4,297 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).