Senior CLASS Award turns lucky 13
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (August 29, 2013) – Soccer and volleyball candidates were announced earlier this week marking the 13th year the Senior CLASS Award – a Premier property since 2001 – has been recognizing outstanding senior student-athletes.
The Senior CLASS Award, chosen by a nationwide vote of NCAA® Division I head coaches, national media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in 10 Division I sports. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
Since its inception, there have been 69 winners from 53 different schools. More than 600 nominations are submitted each year in men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, lacrosse, softball and baseball. An average of 250 schools submit nominations each year.
Broadcasting legend Dick Enberg provided the impetus for the award. During the 2001 NCAA Final Four®, Enberg called for recognition of seniors who put professional careers on hold for the prospect of earning a college degree and enjoying their senior seasons.
Fueled by a strong grassroots marketing effort, the award engages athletics departments, fans and media across the country beginning in this month when men’s and women’s soccer candidates are announced all the way through mid-June when the baseball winner is selected.
Every university that has a finalist has posted a story on their athletics department website, and most create videos, links, graphics and take-over splash screens to direct fans to the voting site. In the last few years, the schools – in addition to the Senior CLASS Award staff – have utilized social media to encourage voting. During the 2012-13 academic year, more than 31.4 million Twitter users were exposed to one of the more than 16,300 tweets featuring the Senior CLASS Award – double the number of users who saw a Senior CLASS Award tweet in 2011-12.
“It’s hard to believe the Senior CLASS Award is starting its 13th year,” said Erik Miner, executive director for the award. “From the university perspective, the interest level of the award has grown stronger each year. From the athlete perspective, it continues to be an award they take great pride in winning.”