ATLANTA — The Women's Basketball Coaches Association released its Academic Top 25 Honor Rolls for the 2012-13 season, and Utah Valley University sits at the top. With a team GPA of 3.639, the Wolverines claim the top GPA in the nation for the second time in the last four years.
"This is a very important recognition, not just to me but to the girls as well," said head women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon, whose squad also held the nation's top GPA in 2010. "They had set a goal at the beginning of the year to have one of the country's top GPAs, and they worked hard to achieve it. They take their academics very seriously and view it as another avenue through which to compete and excel.
"As a coaching staff, we are so proud of them for the day-to-day effort that they put in. There is a great culture of academic commitment within this team and we are excited and honored to represent UVU in this way."
The WBCA Academic Top 25 annually recognizes women's basketball teams across the nation in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, the NAIA, and junior/community colleges that carry the highest combined grade point averages inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season. The 2012-13 season is the 18th in which the WBCA has produced the honor rolls.
With this season's honor, Utah Valley has appeared in the WBCA Academic Top 25 in seven consecutive seasons and has secured a spot in the top-10 four times. The Wolverines finished the 2012-13 season at 15-15, claiming the Great West Conference regular season title for the first time.
Depaul University, Saint Francis College, Florida Gulf Coast University and Southeast Missouri State University round out the top-5.
"Coach Nixon, her staff and the members of the team are doing things the right way — the Wolverine Way," UVU Director of Athletics Vince Otoupal said. "These are the kinds of efforts and awards that will set UVU Athletics apart from our opponents and will continue to bring pride to our institution. These accomplishments are victories and we will treat them that way."
The WBCA accolade tops an offseason packed with academic recognition for UVU women's basketball. In addition to its No. 1 ranking, the Wolverines had seven student-athletes named GWC Academic All-Conference and saw senior forward Sammie Jensen walk away with the GWC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
"The GPAs produced this year by each of the top 25 teams are quite remarkable," WBCA CEO Beth Bass said. "The coaches of these teams have done a terrific job encouraging their student-athletes to perform at their best both on the court and in the classroom. Congratulations to these 114 programs. I wish them each continued success."
Ohio Dominican University captured the top spot in NCAA Division II, while Gustavus Adolphus College was No. 1 in Division III. Sitting atop the NAIA is Vanguard University, while fellow Beehive State resident Snow College holds the top ranking program at the NJCAA level.
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) that 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.
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.