CoSIDA began the distinguished Academic All-America program in 1952, and since then, has honored thousands of deserving student-athletes from numerous sports across all divisions with these elite Academic All-America scholar-athlete honors.
Currently, CoSIDA sponsors Academic All-America programs for men's soccer, women's soccer, football, volleyball, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, softball and men's and women's track and field/cross country. Many other sports are eligible through the At-Large program.
Lester Jordan, then Sports Information Director at SMU, is considered the father of the first team (football), which was released on Saturday, December 6, 1952. Men's basketball was added in 1963 and baseball in 1970. The first women's Academic All-America team-for women's basketball-appeared in 1980. Legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg was named the national spokesperson for the program in 1986. Starting with the 1987-88 seasons, CoSIDA began selecting an Academic All-America of the Year in each sport and an overall Academic All-America of the Year by division.
The Academic All-America program is comprised of four divisional teams, with student-athletes being honored separately in Division I, Division II and Division III. The College Division team is comprised of NAIA, Canadian and two-year student-athletes. This format began in the 2011-12 academic year. Previously there were two teams - University Division (D1) and a College Division (all others).