Valley City State University has been named an NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution for the 2016-17 academic year, the NAIA national office has announced.The NAIA Champions of Character program provides training for student-athletes and professional development for coaches and staff. It places an emphasis on providing character-driven athletics programs. The five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership are put into play and accounted for as part of the Champions of Character program at NAIA schools.Valley City State has earned the honor 15 straight years. VCSU earned the honor at the silver level for 2016-17, improving upon its bronze level from previous years. VCSU is one of five North Star Athletic Association schools recognized at the silver level.“I applaud the student-athletes at VCSU; they understand that character is a choice and that being a champion is about reaching potential and good decision-making daily,” said Jill DeVries, VCSU athletic director. “Our athletic programs strive for success in and out of competition. Our coaching staff embraces the Five Core Values at VCSU and does an outstanding job mentoring these young people as they develop into leaders and engaged citizens in a complex and diverse society.”Institutions are measured on a demonstrated commitment to the Champions of Character program and earn points in character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion. Institutions also earn points based on exceptional student-athlete grade point averages and by having minimal to no ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year.For 2016-17, 183 NAIA institutions earned the Five-Star Institution Award which included 66 gold level winners, 76 silver level winners, and 41 bronze level winners.