Gary Heise

We’re Honoring Seniors in 2020-21 - Just on a Revised Timeline

by Gary Heise October 16, 2020 in Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball, Baseball, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Men's Soccer, Women's Soccer, Softball, Volleyball

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The Senior CLASS Award has proudly honored the nation’s top senior student-athletes for 18 years. We’ve presented awards to many amazing young stars, some of which have gone on to professional sports careers and others who have been just as successful pursuing other paths in life.

The award launched in 2002 with the inspiring story of Shane Battier, the urging of the late, great Dick Enberg and a group of executives who moved forward with the idea. It has grown immensely into an ever-popular collegiate award that stands for “what’s right” about college athletics.

It’s been a smooth ride during the past 18 years. But then came 2020. The current academic school year, as we all know, is like none before.

This thing called COVID-19 hit the world and has been a disruptive force in many ways. It’s been proven that sports are, well, maybe not quite as invincible as we thought. Everyone is being challenged to find creative solutions to the lingering impact of the pandemic. College athletics has certainly been challenged in its valiant attempt to continue playing—as safely as possible—and providing opportunities for coaches to coach and players to play. Especially the seniors!

After a thorough process of evaluating the best plan of how and when to honor the 2020-21 senior student-athletes, the Senior CLASS Award leadership committee has decided to follow the NCAA Championships schedule as our guide for the timing of each sport.

Football is the lone collegiate sport that has nearly all Division I programs competing across the country. While the season has already seen many twists and turns, the major conferences are fighting hard to maneuver through the complications of the health crises to get the football season in the books. If successful, the College Football Playoff will begin on January 1 and a National Champion will be crowned on January 11. Based on that timeline, the Senior CLASS Award will be showcasing the football candidates this fall and announcing the winner as the season reaches the championship game.

The other traditional fall sports in the award program—women’s volleyball, women’s soccer and men’s soccer—will be recognized in conjunction with the revised NCAA championship schedule set for spring 2021. Specific timing of announcing candidates and subsequent finalists for those sports will be determined as more details of the season come to fruition.

As it stands right now, winter sports and the traditional spring sports will stay on a relatively normal schedule for the Senior CLASS Award. This is pending, of course, any further changes by the NCAA and the respective sports as those seasons draw nearer.

These senior student-athletes, who are desperately wanting to compete in their final year of collegiate eligibility, deserve recognition in 2020-21 more than ever. It’s already been a long year of ups and downs, waiting for news, getting ready, then being told to wait, and on and on.

The Senior CLASS Award will take the lead in touting the great stories of this year’s seniors who are pushing for excellence in every aspect of their life as a student-athlete.

Let’s all stick together, get through this, and be better for it in the end.