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Senior CLASS Award is relevant in college sports landscape

June 25, 2013 by Laurie Bollig

There are a lot of awards handed out to college student-athletes every year. A few for excellent grade point averages. Some for outstanding leadership. And a boatload for performance on the field, court, ice and diamond.

Within the collegiate athletics space, there is one award that is given to outstanding student-athletes based on a combination of their performance in the classroom and on the field along with their character and community service. And only seniors are eligible to win it.

For more than a decade, the Senior CLASS Award has stood for what fans hope to see in amateur athletes – high achievers who give back to the community while honoring a promise to stay in school and get a degree.

We love the amazingly talented performers. Watching them is a treat. They come. They go. We enjoy the stories of the kid at the end of the bench who interviews for the Rhodes scholarship. He’ll be a lawyer or doctor one day. And what about the star player who, along with her teammates, visits sick children in the hospital? Great lump-in-the-throat stories, for sure.

But it’s so cool to celebrate a student who makes solid contributions to the team AND performs community service above what is required of the team AND earns a college degree in the process.  You might be surprised by how many of those types of student-athletes exist.

About six weeks before the start of the season, the Senior CLASS Award staff here at Premier Sports filters through hundreds of nominations in 10 NCAA Division I sports. Narrowing those hundreds down to a mere 30 candidates each is excruciating. There’s debate, Googling, raised voices and even some hurt feelings as we compare and contrast the merits of “excellent” and “slightly more excellent.”

Once 30 candidates are selected in each sport, university athletic departments take over in true grassroots fashion. They get behind these kids with social media and school media to promote the fact that they have a student-athlete who is a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award.

In the end, fans, media and coaches vote to select the 10 winners of the Senior CLASS Award throughout the academic year. As a staff, we get to meet some truly remarkable young men and women who, no doubt, will do great things in life.

The Senior CLASS Award is important. The winners think so – we’ve had one winner say it beat his player-of-the-year trophy because it meant he was being recognized for more than just athletics. Colleges think so – one school this year had all their incoming freshmen vote for a baseball finalist as part of their orientation. The media thinks so – national college writers continue to tell us how important it is for the Senior CLASS Award to be part of the collegiate awards landscape.

The Senior CLASS Award continues to fulfill its mission of recognizing the nation’s most outstanding senior student-athletes.

If you want more information on the Senior CLASS Award, visit www.seniorCLASSaward.com.