LEXINGTON, Ky. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) recognized Charleston Southern volleyball with the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2016-17 season, as announced on Monday morning.
The Buccaneers were one of a record-setting 822 men's and women's volleyball teams (across all divisions), breaking the previous year's total of 764 to set an all-time high. The Bucs were one of five Big South programs on the list joining fellow members Campbell, Gardner-Webb, Liberty, and Radford among those recognized with the award.
CSU earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the fifth straight season as the Bucs posted a team GPA of 3.66 during the 2016-17 season. Rising senior middle blocker Kylie Klein was named the 2016-17 Big South Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
"Our standards and expectations are very important to us as a program," said CSU Head Coach Christy Mooberry. "Strength in the classroom and discipline outside of the classroom to reach our academic goals is a reflection of the girls embracing the high standards we as a team has set for ourselves. Our Core Values emphasize devotion, integrity, discipline and unity in practice, games, and schooling and this achievement is a reflection of that fleshed out. I'm proud of the team for working hard to earn this achievement."
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, celebrating its 25th year, is the single largest award offered by the 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 532 team increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the number of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 822.
Girls high school led the way with 277 recipients, an increase of 17 over last year. NCAA Division I honored 145 programs, while NCAA Division II notched 119 honorees. Once again, NCAA Division III had the second-most honorees this year with a total of 150 schools, a 10-school increase over last year's record number.
Prior to 2016-2017, only 29 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 five programs that excelled in the classroom and on the court: Stanford University (NCAA Division I), Concordia University, St. Paul (NCAA Division II), Calvin College (NCAA Division III), Hastings College (NAIA), and Ohio State University (NCAA Division I-II Men).
With 2016-2017 marking the 25th anniversary of the award, the AVCA is introducing additional honors to 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.
Additionally, schools that reached their Dig Pink fundraising goals through the Side-Out Foundation will continue to be honored. The 2016-2017 season saw Dig Pink participants and AVCA Team Academic Award winners raise $91,671 for breast cancer research.
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.