RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Following the completion of the 2016-17 season of competition in the Great American Conference, the league office announced that a record 451 student-athletes achieved Academic All-Conference honors in the sports of men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track & field baseball and softball, an increase of greater than nine percent from the prior record.
Harding led with 54 student-athletes earning GAC Academic All-Conference marks. The Bisons collected the most All-Academic selections in men’s track & field, 16, and tied for the most in men’s basketball. The 15 All-Academic selections in women’s track & field and three in men’s golf placed second in conference.
Oklahoma Baptist ranked second with 53 All-Academic selections. The Lady Bison track & field squad tallied 21 All-Academic selections, the highest single-sport total across the 10 sports. Southern Nazarene finished third, but produced the most selections in women’s basketball, seven; women’s tennis, six; and women’s golf, five.
Ouachita led the GAC with the most All-Academic honorees in baseball and men’s tennis. The Tigers also tied for the most in men’s basketball. Southwestern Oklahoma State led or tied for the lead in three sports – women’s golf, men’s golf and men’s basketball. Arkansas-Monticello’s champion baseball team led the GAC with 16 All-Academic picks. The Blossom softball team also paced the league with 11 All-Academic selections.
“Division II places the balance of academic and athletic pursuits in its highest regards,” GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt said. “The student-athletes within the GAC continue to raise our standards of excellence in the classroom as well ason the field of play.”
GAC softball student-athletes garnered the most All-Academic selections, 88, followed by 83 from baseball and 76 in women’s track & field. For the full 2016-17 academic year, 801 student-athletes earned All-Academic honors, 82 more than the previous high for the conference.
For student-athletes to be recognized on the Academic All-Conference team, they must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing (true freshmen and redshirt freshmen are not eligible) and must have completed at least one full academic year at the nominating institution. In addition, their grade-point average must be a minimum of 3.30 based on the 4.0 system. The GPA shall be cumulative for the athlete's entire collegiate career.