The American Rose Society Award of Excellence
henry_kuska has provided a link to the September 2013 newsletter, 'ARS & you' on the rose breeders forum. It is also available for download as a pdf from the link below.
From the article announcing a 2014 Award of Excellence winner (page 4), I quote:
"...evaluation for two years in nine AOE public test gardens, spaced geographically across the United States. Beginning in 2013, roses may be entered in a "no spray division", a "preventive spray division" or both."
It appears, however, that the AOE is given without clarification. It is simply an AOE, not an AOE for a rose that required spraying OR an AOE for a rose that did not require spraying.
Without this article, I would NEVER have realized that the NEW Award of Excellence (2013 forward) is basically worthless.
Am I surprised? Yes.
An award given by the ARS and it is worthless to folks who want healthy roses.
Sad, sad, sad.
And to sad, I would also add shameful!
No rose that requires sprays can ever be deemed excellent.
Here is a link that might be useful: ARS & you Sept 2013