Smithfield, RI -- The Bryant University volleyball team has been named among the 102 Division I women's teams to receive the 2011-12 AVCA Team Academic Award, as announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
The Bulldogs are one of four schools out of the Northeast Conference to receive the prestigious honor, joined by Central Connecticut, Robert Morris and Saint Francis (PA). Local rivals Providence College and Brown also appear on the list.
A total of 533 teams have earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2011-12 season, a number that breaks the previous year's total of 481 and sets a new all-time high for this award. 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.
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.