Gary Heise

Just Do The Right Thing

by Gary Heise February 11, 2020 in Women’s Basketball


All of us are faced from time to time with difficult decisions or confronted with situations that require action that will be scrutinized. In many cases, not everyone will agree with our resolution.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when we encounter these types of circumstances, there’s only one way to approach it: assess carefully and then just do the right thing. Regardless of the potential backlash, just get it right.

A few days ago, we announced the ten women’s basketball finalists for the 2019-20 Senior CLASS Award. Upon receiving some feedback, we have been reviewing very seriously the information we had on the candidates. While everyone associated with the Senior CLASS Award prides ourselves in thorough evaluation, we have come to the conclusion that we had a miss.

While the committee feels strongly about the attributes of the 10 finalists who have been chosen, it has been decided that leaving Mikayla Pivec of Oregon State off the list doesn’t feel right. Like the other finalists, she has displayed an incredible combination of achievements as an all-around student-athlete, both on the court and off the court. At the end of the day, although this move is unprecedented in the 18-year history of the award, she is being added to the list of finalists. Our decision is based on just getting it right.

We want to point out that this decision was not made to appease those who cried foul. As you can imagine, selecting 100 Senior CLASS Award finalists (10 finalists in 10 different sports) over the course of an academic school year subjects us to much scrutiny. There have been, and will continue to be, disagreements with our decisions of finalists for this great award. In this situation with Mikayla, we will receive heat for adding an 11th finalist and we would have received heat had we stayed with the current 10. So, it’s not about pressure. That comes with the territory. We simply feel that making this decision is the right thing to do.

We congratulate Mikayla, along with the other finalists, on being outstanding role models with the platform they have as NCAA D-I student-athletes. All 11 are worthy candidates for the top prize. We are very proud to honor these outstanding young people. We applaud their parents, coaches, universities and others who have poured into them along the way, helping shape them into not only great athletes, but our future leaders.

Thanks to everyone for your passionate support of the Senior CLASS Award as we seek year in and year out to celebrate what’s right about college athletics. And that’s why we, as custodians of this award, need to do the same – do what’s right.