March 18, 2009

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(Kansas City, MO) –Thirty NCAA® baseball student-athletes who excel both on and off the diamond were tabbed as 2009 candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award today.  To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence:  Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages those leaders to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact on their circle of influence. 

Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA®, expanded the award program in 2007 to include numerous NCAA® Division I sports - men’s and women’s soccer, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball, and softball in addition to men and women’s basketball.  With the addition of football this year, the number of sports encompassed by the nation’s premier award for seniors reaches nine.

This marks the third year for the baseball division of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  Rice University pitcher Cole St.Clair received the title of “Nation’s Premier Senior Student-Athlete” for the 2008 season and University of Alabama infielder, Emeel Salem took home the inaugural baseball award in 2007.

These 30 student-athletes will be narrowed down to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot.  The ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select the candidate that best exemplifies excellence in the “Four C’s” of Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition. 

The 2009 candidate class has representatives from thirty different NCAA® Division I schools, each of which has outstanding accomplishments on and off the field. The award winner will be announced and recognized at Omaha’s Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium during the 2009 NCAA® Men’s World Series.

“It is a thrill for Lowe’s to recognize these 30 outstanding student-athletes,” said Bob Gfeller, Lowe’s senior vice president of marketing and advertising.  “These candidates work diligently in the classroom, and are also making a difference in the communities where they
live.  These young men are true role models.”

Sportscaster Dick Enberg, Honorary Chairman of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001 in response to the growing trend of men’s basketball players leaving school early for the NBA.  The award was launched to honor senior student-athletes who remained in college, exhausting their collegiate athletic eligibility, to pursue their college degree. 

For a complete list of candidates: