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2013 Association of Collegiate Anglers School of the Year Program Underway
7/31/2012
Credit:
BoatsUS press release
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (July 27, 2012) - As summer draws to a close and students prepare for a return to campus, a new race awaits them. The 2013 School of the Year (SOY) Program, running July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, officially kicks off with the College B.A.S.S. National Championship, the first of over twenty ACA sanctioned events to determine who is the best of the best in collegiate bass fishing.

Although full 2013 schedules aren't complete with dates yet, the majority of the major events of the program have been identified and listed on CollegiateBassChampionship.com.

According to Program Director, Danny Blandford, "The first year of the SOY program was a great success and anglers are starting to put some stock in the honors associated with being crowned School of the Year. We've been getting calls and notes from anglers across the country wondering when and where they need to be on the water to earn SOY points this year, which shows we have students hungry to claim the honors in 2013. To help everyone plan their schedules, we've gone ahead and published the initial Qualifying Event List, which will expand a bit over the coming weeks and be backfilled with dates as they become available."

The list includes the major events from the three national collegiate leagues: the Association of Collegiate Anglers' BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series, College B.A.S.S., and FLW College Fishing. In addition, a few select student/school-run events that have a history of being quality events with good participation have also been named in advance, with more to come. In total, the list is expected to include 20-25 of the best college fishing events in the nation.

The inaugural 2012 School of the Year program was the first program of its kind to rank collegiate fishing teams across the country and across all leagues the first true national rankings.

In total, 159 different schools earned points in the first year, with the title going to Arkansas Tech University, who amassed 846 points, primarily via their accomplishments on the water. In addition to competition points, schools can also earn points by hosting their own events, and submitting conservation projects to the Berkley Conservation Institute.

Wade Middleton, Tournament Director of the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series, added, "The SOY program is something I've wanted to see since we formed the ACA and we're proud to be the first to offer something like this to the students. In the world of collegiate bass fishing, it doesn't matter if your college is a Division One powerhouse, or a small community college, you can compete in this program."

Middleton went on to add, "Arkansas Tech is a great example. You don't hear a lot about their sports programs through mainstream media, but when it comes to fishing, they are everywhere and a force to be reckoned with. We're looking forward to visiting them this fall to film an episode of Americana Outdoors, which will tell their story and highlight their award-winning program. Both on and off the water these students work their tails off, and I think stories such as theirs are great for our sport. It's our pleasure to bring them, and the other top schools, the recognition they deserve."

The FLW College Fishing Divisional Championships, which are all sanctioned SOY events, will help to set the pace heading into 2013, with several events packed between August and October. By mid-October the first third of the events will be on the books, and teams will be starting to establish their pecking order, but it will be anyone's game right up until the end.

With the race and points based on the number of teams beat in competition, the ACA BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series events are the most critical in shaping the final outcome.

As the ACA Program Director, Danny Blandford, put it, "We recognize all the leagues and all the points certainly matter, but our ACA events are really the driving force behind the totals, simply because of the size of our events. "

"The BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship, for example, is the largest collegiate fishing event in the nation for seven consecutive years and a school can pick up close to four hundred points by having two teams do well in that one event. The same is true in the Cabela's Collegiate Big Bass Bash and Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, presented by Pepsi. These should be 100 boat tournaments at a minimum in 2013, again giving great point opportunities to those that compete."

As proven by the 2012 season, winning the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship doesn't automatically make you the School of the Year, but it can certainly help a team get into contention, or fall from grace, depending on the results.

The 2013 Championship will be returning to Florence, Alabama, once again in May, and full event details are forthcoming, so students should be planning on visiting Pickwick again at the end of the school year. Students should also be planning to compete in the Cabela's Collegiate Big Bass Bash to start their ACA season in March with the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, presented by Pepsi worked into the schedule as well.