History of the Award

The Senior CLASS Award™  has been presented each year since 2002 to the outstanding NCAA Division I Senior Student-Athlete of the Year in a variety of sports.

Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg suggested a national award for senior basketball players during the CBS telecast of the 2001 National Championship Game when Shane Battier led Duke to the NCAA Men’s Division Basketball I title. Battier’s well-chronicled decision to turn down the NBA and return for his senior season was the media story of the year in college basketball. (Read more about Dick Enberg...)

Later in 2001, Premier Sports Management announced the formation of the Senior CLASS Award™ and teamed up with the Kansas City Club to host an annual awards gala.  Enberg agreed to serve as Honorary Chairman of the award and CBS Sports provided broadcast support, announcing the winner each year during the Final Four telecast.

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 LogoThe first title sponsor of the award, Bayer, was signed in 2003.  Then in 2006, Lowe’s, an Official Corporate Sponsor of the NCAA, and a company dedicated to the community and success of college student-athletes, became the title sponsor.  The scope of the awards program was expanded in 2007 with the addition of six NCAA Division I sports: (men’s and women’s soccer, lacrosse, men’s hockey, softball, and baseball). Football (Bowl Subdivision) was added in 2008 and volleyball was added in 2010, bringing the current total of sports affiliated with the Senior CLASS Award to 10.

Nominees for the Senior CLASS Award include NCAA Division I student-athletes from universities across the nation. These athletes are eligible to join a prestigious group of previous yearly winners in addition to the Senior CLASS Award All-American team. 

The Senior CLASS Award winners are determined each year using a selection process that includes nationwide balloting from media, coaches, and fans.  Votes can be placed online at www.seniorclassaward.com.

The winners are announced at the NCAA Championship for their sport (the football winner is announced at a post-season bowl event). Prior to his passing in December 2017, Enberg personally announced each year’s Men’s Basketball winner on CBS television during the Final Four® telecast.


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
December 2009Senior CLASS Award® is expanded to include NCAA Division I women’s volleyball