September 17, 2008

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(Kansas City, MO)  - Thirty male and thirty female senior student-athletes who have displayed both on-field and off-field excellence have been selected as candidates for the 2008 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s soccer and women’s soccer divisions.  The award, given annually to senior student-athletes across nine NCAA Division I sports, has become one of the most prestigious honors in college athletics and is sponsored by Lowe’s, an Official Corporate Partner of the NCAA.

These individuals qualified based on their dedication and achievement in four areas:  Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition.  The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award is distinctive from many other honors in that on-the-field performance is only one factor in determining candidacy – a major emphasis is placed on off-the-field commitments and personal character.

The 2008 candidates on the women’s side represent 26 different NCAA colleges and universities and 19 athletics conferences across the country.  Five schools – Clemson, Notre Dame, BYU, Duke, and USC – boast two candidates each within this elite group of seniors.  The Atlantic Coast Conference leads the pack with five candidates while the Big East Conference is close behind with three.  The men’s list follows a similar pattern with 28 schools representing 17 conferences.  The University of South Florida holds the multiple-athlete honor on the men’s side with two candidates.  The Big East conference dominates with five total candidates followed by the Big Ten, Pac-10, and Ivy League, which are tied with three each.

From the list of 30 candidates (complete list available in pdf form), a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the 2008 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in both divisions in October.  Those 10 names from each division will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote beginning October 9 and concluding November 19.  Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.  Winners will be announced during the 2008 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championships in Cary, North Carolina, scheduled for December 5-7, and during the 2008 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championships in Frisco, Texas, scheduled for December 12-14.

“The caliber of individuals in this year’s senior class of soccer players made narrowing the field to 30 for each category very difficult,” said Bob Gfeller, Lowe’s senior vice president of marketing and advertising.  “We are ecstatic to see how many talented senior student-athletes are electing to use their skills not only on the playing field, but also in the classroom and in the community.”

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the trend of college basketball players leaving college early to turn professional. 

The award was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as Honorary Chairman, and has recognized winners in men’s and women’s basketball for seven years.  Lowe’s extended the award in 2006 to include baseball, softball, men’s hockey and men’s lacrosse, then in 2007 added men’s and women’s soccer.  The award will also include the sport of football this fall, bringing the total awards program to nine NCAA Division I sports.

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An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: classroom, community, character and competition.  The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards that a senior season can bring.  For more information, visit http://www.seniorclassaward.com.

With fiscal year 2007 sales of $48.3 billion, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE® 50 company that serves approximately 14 million customers a week at more than 1,525 home improvement stores in the United States and Canada.  Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world.  For more information, visit http://www.Lowes.com.

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities.  Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports.  Visit http://www.ncaa.org and http://www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association.

Melynda Stein
Premier Sports Management - Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award
7450 West 130th Street; Suite 360
Overland Park, KS 66213
Phone:  913-681-6990 x17
Fax:  913-681-8864
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