NEW YORK - In an announcement on Wednesday afternoon of the BIG EAST Academic Excellence Awards, three Villanova teams earned recognition for having the highest collective grade-point average in their respective sport. The conference announced the 22 winners of the Excellence Awards, one in each BIG EAST-sponsored sport. The three Wildcats teams to be honored are men’s basketball, men’s indoor track & field and men’s outdoor track & field.
Villanova continues to set itself apart for the combined academic and athletic achievement of its varsity sports programs, even as Wildcats student-athletes have consistently surpassed their own impressive standards when it comes to success in the classroom. The teams which won Academic Excellence Awards on Wednesday afternoon were also among the 15 programs from Villanova which earned public recognition from the NCAA earlier this year for having a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) which ranked in the top 10 percent of their sport nationwide.
The men’s basketball team led the BIG EAST with a 3.172 grade-point average for the 2016-17 academic year. This is the third time in the last four years that the team has had the highest GPA among BIG EAST programs. Villanova completed a four-year run that is among the most dominant in recent memory, winning the BIG EAST regular season title for the fourth straight year and the postseason conference tournament for the second time in the last three seasons. Along the way, the Wildcats returned to the No. 1 spot in the national rankings and the team wound up with a 32-4 record while reaching the NCAA Tournament for the 12th time in the last 13 years.
The men’s indoor and outdoor track & field teams had a 3.317 grade-point average, with student-athletes advancing to postseason competition during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Villanova finished fourth at the indoor BIG EAST Championships and then earned a spot on the awards podium with a third place finish at the conference meet outdoors. During the indoor season, the Wildcats distance medley relay squad competed at the NCAA Championships and garnered first team All-America honors with an eighth place finish. When the calendar turned to the outdoor season, Villanova won four different events at the BIG EAST Championships and had a pair of athletes qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary meet.
The winners of the Academic Excellence Awards were chosen based on the 2016-17 grade-point average of each student-athlete who appeared on an institution’s roster as of the latest contest of the championship segment in each conference-sponsored sport. Still to come at later dates will be the announcement of the Individual Sport Excellence Award winners, as well as the 2016-17 BIG EAST All-Academic Team.
BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Award Winners
|Men's Cross Country||Marquette||3.499|
|Women's Cross Country||DePaul||3.798|
|Men's Indoor Track & Field||Villanova||3.317|
|Women's Indoor Track & Field||DePaul||3.587|
|Men's Outdoor Track & Field||Villanova||3.317|
|Women's Outdoor Track & Field||DePaul||3.587|
|Men's Golf||Seton Hall||3.536|
|Men's Lacrosse||St. John's||3.42|
|Women's Soccer||St. John's||3.73|
|Men's Swimming & Diving||Seton Hall||3.378|
|Women's Swimming & Diving||Seton Hall||3.516|