KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team has been named a 2013-14 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Scholar-Team.
Head coach David Smalley’s RedStorm sported a cumulative 3.35 grade point average and was among the 1,290 squads to be honored by the NAIA.
For a team to be considered for the NAIA Scholar-Team award, it must have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) as defined by the institution. The team grade-point average includes all eligible varsity student-athletes.
The RedStorm women achieved the highest GPA of the four Mid-South Conference teams who were honored, while tying for the ninth-best mark among the Division I women’s basketball programs on the list.
“Striving to be the best that we are capable of being - both academically and athletically - is the ultimate goal of all of our athletic teams here at the University of Rio Grande and every coach makes an effort to be an integral part of the academic success of his/her athletes,” Smalley said. “In the past, women’s basketball has been in the top 20 nationally in terms of academics, but this is our first time in the top 10. We’re proud to have achieved this honor as a team.”
“The credit goes to our players, who understand and see the big picture of having the privilege to play basketball and the collegiate level while preparing themselves for their future careers,” Smalley continued. “I’m extremely proud of the academic support system we have in place and even more proud in the academic results that our ladies have garnered through their accountability and dependability in the classroom.”
The women’s basketball team was the only one of Rio’s 11 athletic programs to be honored.
“It’s very exciting to hear the news of the academic success from our Women’s basketball team. This is a fantastic achievement,” said Rio Grande athletic director Jeff Lanham. “The honor is the result of hard work and determination from every team member. The entire Rio Athletic Department is very proud of this national achievement. Rio Pride!!”
Ashford’s (Iowa) men’s golf squad, who finished the academic year with a NAIA-best combined 3.86 grade-point average, was selected as the Scholar-Team of the Year.
Spring Arbor’s (Mich.) Division II women’s basketball team (3.84) finished second, followed by Concordia’s (Neb.) women’s cross country program (3.83). Biola’s (Calif.) women’s cross country squad (3.81), finished tied for fourth place with three Oklahoma City teams – women’s cross country, women’s indoor track & field and women’s outdoor track & field.
For the second-straight season, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) had 19 programs honored, tying Biola (Calif.) for the most teams honored overall. Taylor (Ind.) was second with 18 recognized, while College of Idaho, Concordia (Neb.), Hastings (Neb.) and Davenport (Mich.) tied with 17 programs named, respectively.
For the third-consecutive year, more than 15 percent of the schools receiving the award had a 3.5 or higher grade-point average (15.7).