NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons have earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the 2013-2014 season.
The Lady Bisons posted a team grade point average of 3.60 for the academic year. According to the release from AVCA, the award is presented to teams that “displayed excellence in the classroom”. To qualify for the list teams are required to maintain at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
There were 676 teams in all levels of competition from high school to college named to the list, a new all-time high. There were 134 NCAA Division I teams honored, also a record.
“We’ve have all agreed it is our responsibility,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “This is our program. We really try to work in-house with it.
“We do things a little bit differently in regards to study hall. We are proud of the results. It is a team effort.”
Kathy DeBoer, AVCA Executive Director, said that “too often athletic participation is associated with academic underachievement and this stereotype is simply false when it comes to volleyball.”
Rosenthal adds that even though his teams are known for their successes on the court their academic work doesn’t receive the same level of recognition.
“It is something we obviously always strive for,” Rosenthal said. “I think our girls do a fantastic job of putting themselves in a great position.
“This is one of the highest GPAs we have ever had. During both the fall and spring semesters the girls are going above and beyond. It is part of our model for success. I don’t think it is something our girls get enough credit for.”
Assistant coach Ann Armes oversees much of the academic side for the Lady Bisons. This past academic year was her first to work with the team.
“I think Ann did a great job,” Rosenthal said. “She got her feet wet in determining what we needed from a program standpoint. I am really proud of the job she did and what the girls did.”
Rosenthal and his staff sign players that are not only outstanding on the court, but who can also compete in the classroom.
“We recruit very bright individuals so some of that is taken care of naturally,” Rosenthal said. “But I think some of it, like time management and study skills, is to be learned. The girls are open to learning.
“A lot of it is the girls understanding we are not going to settle for less. It takes them a little bit of time to really get into the full swing of it. But early on they know we are not going to sacrifice academics. They do a nice job. When you talk about a 3.6 team GPA it is impressive.”