ATLANTA -- Two years removed from having the nation's top GPA in the classroom, the Utah Valley University women's basketball team landed a spot in the top 10 once again as it ranked seventh with a 3.524 team GPA on the 2011-12 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division I Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll.
The honor marks the sixth consecutive season coach Cathy Nixon's squad has made the cut and the third straight it has secured a spot in the top 10.
Green Bay was the top on the list with a 3.616 GPA, while South Dakota State ranked second (3.610), DePaul third (3.604), South Dakota fourth (3.595), American fifth (3.563), Youngstown State sixth (3.550), North Dakota eighth (3.505), Florida Gulf Coast ninth (3.474) and St. Francis (N.Y.) rounded out the top 10 with a 3.456 GPA.
This year five of the top 25 teams on the Division I honor roll earned a berth in the 2012 NCAA tournament. The WBCA also honors Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior/Community College institutions. UVU's former SWAC rival Salt Lake Community College boasted the best GPA in the Junior/Community College division with a 3.379 clip.
"I look forward to the release of the Academic Top 25 each summer," WBCA CEO Beth Bass said. "Because our society places so much emphasis on winning games and championships, it is a refreshing change of pace when we recognize those teams that excel in the classroom."
Bass continued it takes a total group effort to receive this honor.
"Like winning on the court, academic success on a team level does not happen by accident. It requires a group of student-athletes who realize the importance of education and earning their degrees, coaches who expect and encourage their players to attend class and study, and administrators who provide strong academic support programs for their athletes," Bass said.
A team's GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of hours attempted by all team members in the academic terms (semesters or quarters) the season spans. Weighted grades are converted to a 4.0 scale. The GPAs are rounded to the nearest thousandth of a point. Teams are nominated for the honor by a WBCA-member head coach. A team must have a 3.000 or better GPA to be nominated.
UVU also had a successful season on the hardwood in 2011-12 as it finished with an even .500 record (15-15), second in the Great West (6-4) and made it to the GWC title game.
Here is the complete 2012 WBCA Academic Top 25 for NCAA Division I Team (**-NCAA tournament team; *-left after season):
Rank - Institution, 2011-12 Head Coach, Team GPA
1 - Green Bay**, Matt Bollant*, 3.616
2 - South Dakota State**, Aaron Johnston, 3.61
3 - DePaul**, Douglas Bruno, 3.604
4 - South Dakota, Ryun Williams*, 3.595
5 - American, Matt Corkery, 3.563
6 - Youngstown State, Robert Boldon, 3.55
7 - Utah Valley, Cathy Nixon, 3.524
8 - North Dakota, Gene Roebuck*, 3.505
9 - Florida Gulf Coast**, Karl Smesko, 3.474
10 - St. Francis (N.Y.), John Thurston, 3.456
11 - Montana State, Tricia Binford, 3.435
12 - Northern Colorado, Jaime White, 3.421
13 - Western Carolina, Karen Middleton, 3.406
14 (tie) - New Mexico, Yvonne Sanchez, 3.403
14 (tie) - Northern Iowa, Tanya Warren, 3.403
16 - North Dakota State, Carolyn DeHoff, 3.402Comment on this story
17 - Montana, Robin Selvig, 3.399
18 - Indiana-Purdue - Fort Wayne, Chris Paul, 3.398
19 - Bradley, Paula Buscher*, 3.396
20 - Denver, Erik Johnson*, 3.387
21 - Bucknell, Kathy Fedorjaka*, 3.382
22 - Yale, Chris Gobrecht, 3.352
23 - Sacred Heart**, Edward Swanson, 3.349
24 - Bowling Green, Curt Miller*, 3.347
25 - Eastern Washington, Wendy Schuller, 3.337
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com