The 2011 national champion Ohio State men's volleyball team finished the season on top athletically. Now it knows it also was on top of the NCAA academically.

The 2011 national champion Ohio State men's volleyball team finished the season on top athletically. Now it knows it also was on top of the NCAA academically.

Academic Progress Rates released by the NCAA yesterday placed the volleyball team in exclusive company. It joined UCLA's women's golf and Brown's women's rowing as the only teams in the nation to have a perfect APR and take home their sport's national championship for the academic year.

The accomplishment speaks volumes about the capabilities of student-athletes, said John Bruno, Ohio State's faculty athletic representative.

"What it says absolutely, unequivocally, is being a good solid student does not detract from your athletics," Bruno said. "Some people think that to achieve excellence on one side that you have to give something up on the other side, and you don't - as long as you're motivated toward success in both arenas."

The OSU men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball teams also had perfect APRs of 1,000. Across Ohio, 26 teams from 10 universities registered perfect APR scores.

"I think it speaks to the student-athletes that we had in the program in that particular time," men's volleyball coach Pete Hanson said. "It reflects positively on all sports at Ohio State."

NCAA president Mark Emmert said that the three schools that had teams reach the summit of academic and athletic achievement should be celebrating.

"It's a pretty remarkable accomplishment," he said. "You've got people hitting on all cylinders academically and winning a national championship."

The APR accounts for academic performance over a four-year period. Teams scoring lower than 900 are subject to NCAA punishment, with repeat offenders banned from postseason play.

The Ohio State wrestling team had the department's lowest score (960), so no program will face penalties.

"The message about academic responsibility is permeating throughout the athletic department," Bruno said. "We want our teams to be well ahead of the benchmark because we think we're better than that."

Toledo men's basketball is the only team in Ohio to score below 900 and will be one of 15 teams nationally that will be ineligible for postseason competition next season.

In addition to their volleyball success, Ohio State raised their scores in football and men's basketball, two sports of NCAA emphasis according to Emmert.

The football score of 988 was second in the Big Ten to Northwestern and second in the state to Dayton. Up three points from last-year's mark, the Buckeyes ranked in the top 10 percent of football teams and received an NCAA Public Recognition Award.

The men's basketball team also saw improvement, raising their score 10 points to 962. That placed coach Thad Matta's team seventh in the Big Ten, well back of Michigan's conference-leading perfect score. The Buckeyes were above the national men's basketball score of 950.

Although men's volleyball was the only OSU team to place at the top athletically and academically, Hanson said the success stems from the collective mindset of the entire athletic department.

"The general public doesn't know that these kids doing athletics at the Division I level do put a tremendous amount of effort into their studies," he said. "I think every athlete that goes through Ohio State has their academics first and their athletics second."

Dispatch reporter Tim May contributed to this story.

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