Senior CLASS Award Takes a Pause

by Erik Miner September 13, 2022 in


After 20 years of the Senior CLASS Award, we’ve decided to take a pause. We hope it will be a short one. 

As we reflect on those two decades, what a ride it has been! Watching this award go from just an idea to becoming a prestigious honor throughout college athletics has been an extraordinary experience.

The late 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 I Basketball 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.

A group of business leaders based in Kansas City, which owns a deep tradition in college basketball, decided to act on the legendary broadcaster’s concept. A year later, Enberg served as Master of Ceremonies for the first-ever awards presentations – Juan Dixon of Maryland and Sue Bird of UConn. Shane Battier received an Honorary Senior CLASS Award.

In the early years, Bayer sponsored the award to insure a first-class launch and then our friends at Lowe’s and CBS helped expand the award from Men’s and Women’s Basketball to 10 NCAA Division I sports.

Over the years the Senior CLASS Award has shared many amazing stories as we’ve celebrated candidates, finalists and winners who excel both on and off the field of play.  Similar to the famous NCAA marketing line, many of the SCA student-athletes have gone pro in something other than sports. Some award recipients have gone on to become solid professional players as well. Regardless of profession, all of them utilized the important tools they learned during their college tenures.

Since the 2012-13 academic school year the team at Premier Sports Management has operated the award without a corporate sponsor. We’ve loved every bit of it as we’ve continued to see impressive student-athletes pour themselves into their team, their campus and their community.

Once a new corporate partner comes on board to help take the Senior CLASS Award to the next level, we’ll pick back up and continue celebrating the great achievements of the nation’s top student-athletes.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the university athletic departments – specifically the Sports Information Directors – who have helped facilitate the nominees and promotion process year in and year out. We couldn’t have done this without you.

And, as mentioned earlier, thanks to Lowe’s for many years of leadership and support as the award grew immensely across the country. Combined with the partnership with CBS Sports, Turner Sports and the NCAA, it was a magical time of building an award that stands for everything that’s right about college athletics.

College athletics is changing more rapidly than any other moment in history with the advent of NIL, conference realignment, evolving media opportunities and much more. Amid that shifting environment, one thing remains constant – student-athletes who pursue excellence in all aspects of life are the heartbeat of what makes collegiate sports great. The Senior CLASS Award has highlighted that for 20 years….and we look forward to someday soon being able to do it again for years to come.