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History of the Award

Sportscaster Dick Enberg suggested a national award for seniors during the NCAA Men’s Final Four on CBS in 2001 when Shane Battier, a potential NBA lottery pick who chose to return for his senior season, helped lead Duke University to the national championship and earned his college degree. (Read more about Dick Enberg...) 

With Enberg’s call for an award, Premier Sports Management created the Senior CLASS Award™ in late 2001 in response to the growing trend of college basketball players leaving college early to enter the professional ranks.  With Enberg as the program’s honorary chair and CBS as a broadcast partner, Premier began presenting the award annually in men’s and women’s basketball.

CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School™, and the original goal of the Senior CLASS Award was to honor seniors for completing their collegiate athletic eligibility. It became an immediate success. 

2002 Senior CLASS Award LogoWith the addition of Lowe’s as a title sponsor in 2006, the program has expanded to include more sports and grown in awareness. A timeline of the award program is below.


Timeline

November 2001Formation of Senior CLASS Award™ announced by Premier Sports Management, Inc., along with event host, the Kansas City Club
April 2002CBS Sports announces first winners of Senior CLASS Award™ for men’s and women’s basketball on national television during NCAA Men’s Final Four
April 2002First Senior CLASS Award Gala hosted in Kansas City, MO.  Dick Enberg served as Master of Ceremonies; Shane Battier received Honorary Senior CLASS Award™, Juan Dixon of Maryland and Sue Bird of UConn receive first-ever awards
August 2003Bayer becomes first title sponsor of Senior CLASS Award™
August 2006Lowe’s takes over as title sponsor of Senior CLASS Award™
January 2007Senior CLASS Award™ expands to four additional NCAA sports – baseball, softball, men’s hockey, men’s lacrosse; joining men’s and women’s basketball to bring the total number of sports to six
August 2007Senior CLASS Award™ expands to two additional NCAA sports – men’s soccer and women’s soccer, bringing the total number of sports to eight
August 2008Senior CLASS Award™ adds football (Bowl Subdivision), bringing the total number of sports to nine
August 2009Senior CLASS Award™ is expanded to include NCAA Division II men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes in the CIAA conference

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