Harding volleyball team excels off court in classroom

By Lisa Burnett Published August 11, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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— It takes physical strength to play volleyball, but the Harding University women’s volleyball team’s newest award proves the players also have the mental strength to succeed in the classroom.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced Wednesday that the Harding Volleyball team was presented with the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2012-2013 season.

For a team to receive the award, the average of the players’ cumulative GPAs must be at least 3.30.

Meredith Fear, the head volleyball coach for Harding, said this past season was her first to coach the team.

She said she is proud of her team for receiving the award.

“It felt awesome,” Fear said. “We saw success on the court last season when we won the conference championship.”

Scott Goode, assistant athletic director for sports information, said the award indicates the tradition the school has for great athletes and students.

“Many of our volleyball players and teams have received academic honors throughout the years,” Goode said.

“[Coach Fear] really emphasizes taking care of business in the classroom, as well as on the volleyball court.”

Fear said 2009-2010 was the last school year the volleyball team received the academic award.

“Academics are important to us,” she said. “If [a team member] has a grade-point average below 3.2, they have to log [study] hours.”

This is the eighth time for Harding to get the award in the past 12 years.

According to the AVCA website, 622 teams nationwide were given the AVCA Team Academic Award.

Harding was one of the 77 teams that received the award in NCAA Division II.

The award has been in place since the 1992-1993 academic year, and more than 1,000 schools have earned the award since then, the website states.

Fear said the award shows that team members are well-rounded, and they prove themselves on the court and in the classroom.

“That’s what they’re in college for,” Fear said.

The history of student athletes succeeding in the classroom draws students to the university, Goode said.

“I think the fact that students know they’re going to get a great education when they come to Harding is a huge draw for us,” he said.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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