San Antonio, TX – The Association of Collegiate Anglers’ School of the Year program has been quietly growing and gaining momentum, with more than 100 active collegiate fishing teams now participating.
The recent National Guard FLW Collegiate Fishing Western Regional marked the ninth sanctioned event of the 2012 program, and 17 more schools have now earned points and joined the race. The ACA School of the Year rankings now includes 104 active collegiate fishing teams from coast to coast, providing the first comprehensive rankings of collegiate bass teams in the nation. Additional ACA-sanctioned events will take place throughout the 2012 fishing season, with the final standings based on performance over a 25-event tournament schedule.
The ACA awards points to each competing school, based on its finish in the event in relation to field size. In addition to competition points, teams can also earn points for participating in conservation projects submitted to the Berkley Conservation Institute Program through the ACA, as well as hosting their own events.
“We are excited to see the School of the Year Program growing so quickly this fall,” said Danny Blandford, Program Director. “Being the first points system designed to recognize accomplishments across leagues and independent events, we are proud of pioneering and managing this program for the students.
“We all know people love their college sports and fishing is no different. I’m sure now that we are ranking the schools, we’ll be fueling long-standing rivalries while helping foster a new spirit of competitiveness, all of which is great for collegiate fishing.”
The winners of the 2012 ACA School of the Year program will receive a sponsor prize pack valued at more than $7,000 and their own dedicated television highlights. An episode of Americana Outdoors, as well as features within the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series, will be devoted to the 2012 program, the race to the top, and the ultimate winners. The second-place team will receive $3,000 in merchandise courtesy of the Association of Collegiate Anglers’ sponsors, along with recognition within television programming, and the third place team will receive a package valued at $1,500 in merchandise, as well as recognition.
According to Wade Middleton, Tournament Director of the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series, “I’m proud of getting this ACA program started for the students. It’s something I’ve wanted to put into motion for quite some time. It rewards students for fishing all the events spread across the country, regardless of who is hosting them.
“It also rewards students for hosting their own events, which contributes to the growth of collegiate bass fishing,” Middleton added. “Last, but not least, we have incentivized the teams to participate in Berkley Conservation Institute projects, which are also good initiatives for our sport.”
With nine ACA School of the Year events already completed, competition is shaping up for a good race. Several Big Ten colleges jumped to the top of the leader board since the Big Ten Classic was the first event allowing multiple teams to score for the school, which drives higher point totals. Purdue University is currently in the lead, with points earned in two events, including the Big Ten Classic and the National Guard FLW Central Regional.
There isn’t much breathing room for the Boilermaker Bass Club, however, with only eight points separating the top 10 schools. With only about a third of the race completed there will still be a lot of movement in the rankings. The BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Series events of 2012 will generate the highest team scores, since they are the largest collegiate events in the nation. New teams will be added to the race as they participate in qualifying events throughout the season, likely pushing the list to well over 125 participating schools.
The ACA School of the Year champion will be crowned at the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, June 22-24, in Paris, Tenn.
For more details on the program, please visit: www.collegiatebasschampionship.com/aca-school-of-the-year-program.html. An up-to-date list of qualifying events can be found at www.collegiatebasschampionship.com/SOY-qualifying-events.html.