For the sixth year in a row, Ohio’s volleyball team proved it has the ability to ace tests as well as serve aces on the court.
The Bobcats earned another perfect score on Academic Progress Rate assessment, an annual evaluation administered by the NCAA. The 1,000-point performance indicates the team retained its entire roster and that all players are in good academic standing.
The team’s six Public Recognition Awards outnumber those won by all other Ohio teams combined.
All four of the Mid-American Conference programs that posted scores below the threshold of 925 this year were men’s basketball or football programs. Coach Ryan Theis said female student-athletes tend to have different priorities than male student-athletes.
“There’s men’s sports, where playing time may be (the athletes’) number-one priority,” he said. “I don’t think that’s an accurate assumption amongst most female athletes. More of them are more about a happiness level overall.”
Four of the 11 teams in school history to have won a PRA were men’s squads.
Five of the 18 NCAA programs that received the honor this year were men’s teams.
Theis said his team’s retention rate and devotion to academics result from the close bond the players and coaches have with each other.
“Our family atmosphere is something we preach the minute they come in the door on a recruiting visit,” Theis said. “The teams that are deciding to come to Ohio to play for me are interested in that family atmosphere.”
A part of the coaching staff’s emphasis on academics is a stipulation that players seek tutoring if a mid-term grade dips to a C or lower. Theis said the Bobcats rarely need tutoring and prefer a more flexible schedule.
“One thing we do for academics is really emphasize that our athletes are prepared for class,” he said. “Our players know they need to start well right off the bat.”
Though 12 other Division I volleyball teams have won a PRA, Ohio is the only program that has made the NCAA tournament each of the six years it has won.