The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga volleyball team was awarded the AVCA Team Award for Academic Excellence, the AVCA announced on Monday.
The Mocs posted a team GPA of 3.602 in the fall semester and followed that up with 3.515 in the spring. In the fall 13 student-athletes earned a spot on the Chattanooga Dean's List with 12 hitting the mark in the spring.
Seven members were named to the Southern Conference Fall All-Academic list, tying for the most in the league.
Megan Kaufman recorded a perfect 4.0 each semester and was one of five student-athletes to earn the SoCon Commissioner's Medal with a 3.8 GPA or higher. Fourteen members of the volleyball team were named to the Southern Conference Honor Roll.
Chattanooga was one 163 NCAA Division I teams and 923 teams from 10 different levels including all three NCAA divisions, NAIA, Two-Year College, USCAA, Collegiate Men, boys and girls high school and Beach to earn the award, setting an all-time high and besting the 835 from last year, setting an all-time high. The Mocs were one of 163 Division I teams to be honored.
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 is the single largest award offered by 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 619-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 973.
Girls high school led the way with 358 recipients, an increase of 81 over last year. Once again, NCAA Division III had the second-most honorees this year with a total of 173 schools, a 23-school increase over last year’s record number. NCAA Division I honored jumped from 145 programs to 164, while NCAA Division II notched 128 honorees. High school boys and collegiate men’s programs accrued 52 institutions with collegiate beach notching 22.
Prior to 2017-2018, only 34 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: University of Nebraska (NCAA Division I), Concordia University, St. Paul (NCAA Division II), and Lindsey Wilson College (NAIA).
This also marks the second year honoring 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. Dig Pink is a nationwide movement to provide meaningful and impactful experiences for athletes while inspiring and empowering them to come together in support of the stage IV breast cancer community. Each year, hundreds of teams across the country (and some overseas) participate in the Dig Pink® Rally.
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.