The ACA School of the Year Race has reached the halfway point of the inaugural 2012 season. One hundred and eighteen teams are currently in the race to be crowned School of the Year, an honor based on their performance in sanctioned collegiate bass fishing events across the country. The ACA awards points to each competing school, based on their 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.
After twelve events, Arkansas Tech University has taken a narrow lead over the field. Their performance in the recent Arkansas Collegiate Fishing Trail Championship, along with an active schedule, including hosts of the Arkansas Tech Collegiate Fishing Invitational, has positioned them well with half the race remaining. The Kentucky Lake Invitational, hosted by Murray State, also shook up the leader board and brought new challengers into the race.
March brings the first two sanctioned national events of the season, with the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash being the highest point value tournament in the race to date, and open to any university recognized fishing program. Teams that haven’t even joined the race yet can be in contention by April; all it takes is a few good bites in Texas. Registration is currently open, and participants will receive a $25 Cabela’s Gift Card as part of the registration activities, which take place at the Allen, TX Cabela’s location.
According to Program Director Danny Blandford, “With no entry fee, over $20,000 in prizes, and no limit on field size, the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash is shaping up to be a game changer for the School of the Year Race. The leaders can certainly create some space from the rest of the pack, but I expect to see some new teams get right into the mix. With registrations from as far as Utah and Massachusetts, and new programs forming daily, the School of the Year may not even be in the current standings yet.”
Tournament Director, Wade Middleton, went on to add, “One month into registrations, it’s wonderful to see the continued demand and interest in collegiate bass fishing. All our events are showing growth and the 2012 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship will be the largest collegiate bass fishing tournament our sport has seen. At a minimum, a team will walk away with two hundred points, and their school may earn considerably more. The race is really wide open and won’t be decided until the scales close at the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, Presented by Pepsi in June.”
The winners of the 2012 ACA School of the Year program will receive a sponsor prize pack valued at over $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. Second place will receive $3,000 in merchandise courtesy of the Association of Collegiate Anglers’ sponsors, along with recognition within the programming, and the third place team will receive a package valued at $1,500 in merchandise, as well as recognition.