Biola Leads NAIA With 19 Scholar Teams

Each varsity sport maintains a team GPA of 3.0 or higher to earn distinction.

Jul. 15, 2014 By Neil Morgan

For the third time in the last five years Biola University leads the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in Scholar Teams. All 19 of the Eagles’ varsity intercollegiate athletic programs achieved a team GPA higher than 3.0 to put Biola in a tie with Olivet Nazarene at the top of the association.

“We are very proud of our student-athletes and what they have accomplished both academically and athletically over the past year,” said Athletics Director Dr. Dave Holmquist. “All of our coaches are very thankful that we can work and Biola and coach such outstanding young people.

The NAIA recognized 1,290 individual athletic programs for their academic achievements. Thirty-eight of those 1,290 came from Biola and Olivet Nazarene. Both programs are considered national powers on the playing field and in the classroom with top-20 finishes in the 2013-14 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup.

The Golden State Athletic Conference produced 48 NAIA Scholar Teams. Biola’s 19 led the way and was followed by Vanguard’s 10.

The men and women’s cross country teams led Biola’s overall excellent academic performance. These two of Jonathan Zimmerman’s six programs had team GPAs of 3.67 and 3.81, respectively. Those two marks were the top marks for each gender. All six of Zimmerman’s programs had a GPA of 3.37 or above, with the lowest women’s team GPA being a 3.7.

The women’s cross country squad combined for the fourth-highest team GPA in the entire NAIA. The team was just .05 shy of besting Ashford’s men’s golf team for the highest GPA in the nation.

The 19 Scholar Teams are the most Biola has ever achieved in a single academic year. It is an increase of three from last season’s 16. Biola has not had fewer than 14 Scholar Teams in any year over the past six seasons.

Sixteen of the Eagles’ 19 Scholar Teams compiled a mark over 3.25, and 32 percent of the teams posted a mark higher than 3.5. On the national level just 15 percent of Scholar Teams had a GPA above 3.5.

“To have each of our 19 teams honored in this way is a great achievement. This is an accomplishment to be shared not only by our students and coaches, but by our faculty as well,” said Holmquist.

On average Biola’s 19 athletic programs improved its team GPA by .05 from last season. The biggest increase came in women’s golf, where Jane Carr’s program increased .26 from last year. The team improved from 3.08 to 3.34.

View the NAIA’s release here.

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