KANSAS CITY – For the fifth year in a row, Taylor University had all 18 of its varsity athletics programs honored as NAIA Scholar-Teams after posting collective grade-point averages of 3.0 or better during the 2016-2017 academic year.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that 1,658 teams from around the nation had earned Scholar-Team status last year by posting a team GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
Taylor's 18 Scholar-Teams ranked the Trojans third among all NAIA institutions, following only the 20 from Saint Ambrose and the 19 from Concordia (Nebraska) on the list. TU's 18 Scholar-Teams also ranked as the highest total among schools that placed each of their teams on the list, sharing that distinction with cross-county rival, Indiana Wesleyan, as the only programs in the nation to reach that mark.
In addition to ranking third overall and tops among programs to place each of their teams on the list, Taylor led the NAIA with 17 teams above 3.30 and saw half of its 18 programs surpass the 3.50 plateau.
Taylor had all but one of its programs rank inside the top-20 team grade-point averages in the NAIA for their respective sports, placing 12 inside the top-10 and five among the top-five. Volleyball (3.84) and men's indoor track and field (3.40) ranked second in the NAIA in their respective sports, while baseball (3.40) and women's cross country (3.77) ranked third and women's soccer (3.58) ranked fifth.
Overall, Taylor had two of the top-15 team GPA marks in the NAIA and four of the top-100. Volleyball led that list once again by ranking seventh among the 1,658 teams to earn Scholar-Team recognition, while women's cross country came in at 14th overall, women's golf (3.68) posted the 56th-best GPA and women's outdoor track and field (3.63) recorded the 96th-best GPA in the nation among all sports.
Taylor saw eight of its programs turn in the highest team GPA in the Crossroads League, while 15 of TU's programs ranked among the top-three for their respective sport within the Crossroads League or Mid-States Football Association.
Taylor has now seen each of its 18 teams named as NAIA Scholar-Teams for five-straight years. TU has led the NAIA in percentage of teams to earn the honor in each of those five years, while ranking No. 2 in 2012-2013, No. 3 in 2013-2014, No. 1 in 2014-2015, No. 5 in 2015-2016 and No. 3 in 2016-2017 in total number of Scholar-Teams.
Taylor's 2016-2017 NAIA Scholar-Teams
Volleyball – 3.84
Women's Cross Country – 3.77
Women's Golf – 3.68
Women's Outdoor Track and Field – 3.63
Women's Indoor Track and Field – 3.62
Women's Basketball – 3.60
Women's Soccer – 3.58
Men's Cross Country – 3.57
Softball – 3.53
Women's Tennis – 3.46
Men's Golf – 3.44
Baseball – 3.40
Men's Indoor Track and Field – 3.40
Men's Outdoor Track and Field – 3.35
Men's Basketball – 3.35
Men's Tennis – 3.32
Men's Soccer – 3.31
Football – 3.09