(505) Student-Athletes: Awards

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Updated 12/2016


As acknowledgement for athletic participation, and as recognition for outstanding performance, Kansas Athletics permits deserving student-athletes to receive athletic awards in compliance with NCAA and Conference rules and regulations. Athletic awards are presented upon the recommendation of the Head Coach and with the approval of the Compliance Office, Sport Supervisor, and Director of Athletics, according to criteria established by Kansas Athletics administrators and Head Coaches.

In order to receive an athletic award, the student-athlete must be of amateur standing, eligible for athletic participation as defined by the NCAA, and must have been representing the University of Kansas at the time of competition. In addition to athletic performance, other factors taken into consideration include a student-athlete’s academic standing, as well as his/her attention to university regulations, observance of training rules, sportsmanship and overall conduct.

Award items are restricted by NCAA regulations to merchandise that can be personalized with the institution’s insignia or letter, event specification or comparable identification. Awards presented in a certain category must be uniform for all team members who are recipients.

A student-athlete may not receive an award of cash, gift certificates, or its equivalent (i.e. items that are negotiable for cash or trade). Appliances, television sets and other merchandise items that cannot be properly personalized are prohibited. An award of a country club or sports club membership is not permitted, even if the cost of membership is less than the allowable award value.

Per NCAA Rules, the total value of a single participation or “letter” award received in a year by a non-senior student-athlete may not exceed $225. Multiple awards may be presented only if the total value of all participation awards received during a particular academic year by an individual (non-senior) student-athlete does not exceed $225.
Multiple awards may be presented to a senior student-athlete only if the total value of all participation awards presented during a particular academic year to a senior student-athlete does not exceed $425 in each sport in which the student-athlete participates.

Awards for participation in special events (e.g., postseason football games, all-star games, featured individual competitions, etc.) may be presented by Kansas Athletics (or the management of the event) when either a team or an individual has represented KU in such an event. However, the total value of any single award to a student-athlete may not exceed $375. Most-valuable player awards for bowl games are limited to a maximum value of $350 and most-valuable player awards for special events are limited to a maximum value of $325. If multiple awards are presented for participation in the event or in honor of the student-athlete’s achievement, the total value of such awards may not exceed $325, except for bowl game awards which have a maximum value of $350. Student-athletes may receive awards valued at no more than $550 from sponsoring agencies for bowl game participation and may also receive a similar award from KU, again within the $400 limit.

Student-athletes may receive awards in recognition of Conference or national championships from KU, the Big 12 Conference, or an approved organization. The total value of any single award may not exceed $325 for a Conference championship or $415 for a national championship, except for awards purchased and presented by the NCAA to student-athletes for participation in NCAA championship events.

Kansas Athletics presents letter awards to those student-athletes designated to be deserving of such by their respective Head Coach.

The criteria for earning letter awards in each sport are set by the sport’s Head Coach with the approval of the Sport Supervisor and Director of Athletics.

At the end of the season, the Compliance Office provides an Annual Letter Award Report to coaches. Coaches, with the approval of the sport supervisor, indicate team members and managers they are recommending for an annual participation letter award. Once the Compliance Office reviews the information, it is forwarded to the Assistant Athletics Director for Equipment Operations (to facilitate the ordering of awards) and finally to the  Senior Director of K Club and Traditions.

The awards are ordered and received through regular purchasing procedures (See Policy 403, Purchasing Procedures, in this Manual). They are distributed at the discretion of the Head Coach of each sport, whose responsibility it is to make sure each student-athlete receives his/her award(s).

Letter Awards may be claimed up to one year after graduation or the exhaustion of eligibility, whichever is later. Any former student-athlete who has earned a particular award and is a paying member of the K Club may purchase a replacement of that same award in case of loss.

With a minimum of two (2) years of service in the Student Manager Program, an undergraduate student manager is eligible for a varsity letter blanket. The Assistant AD for Equipment Operations shall recommend letter award winners for all student managers with approval of each head coach. Lists will be approved by the Compliance Office and Sport Supervisor. At the conclusion of his/her senior year, each student manager in good standing is awarded a personalized Framed K Award.  This senior award supersedes the letter blanket if the student manager has completed just one or two years in the Student Manager Program.

At the conclusion of his/her senior year, with a minimum of two (2) years of service, an undergraduate student trainer will be eligible for a Framed K Award. Undergraduate student athletic trainers may choose the Varsity jacket as their award in lieu of the Framed K.

In conjunction with Kansas Athletics, K Club provides rings to letter winners upon exhaustion of eligibility and/or impending graduation.   All senior student-athletes (excluding medical redshirts) in good standing with Kansas Athletics will be deemed a “letter winner” in order to receive a K-Club ring.  In January of each academic year head coaches from sports competing in the winter and spring seasons are asked to forecast their senior letter winners to meet the March 1 ring order deadline.

K Rings are awarded each spring at the Jayhawk Senior Celebration.

Each year the Big 12 Conference provides awards to its institutions for all student-athletes’ participation in conference sponsored sports. Kansas Athletics purchases extra awards to ensure all student-athletes receive this recognition.

Head Coaches complete a Big 12 Participation Award form at the end of each competition season approving each student-athlete to receive an award. The form is then approved by the Sport Supervisor and forwarded to the team’s equipment manager for award distribution.

Awards for participation in a Conference and/or a National Championship or special event (e.g., postseason football games, all-star games, featured individual competition, etc.) may be presented by the University when either a team or an individual has represented Kansas Athletics in such an event. (The allowable maximum value for such awards is specified in the “Awards Value Limitations” section above.)

Rings are awarded to any University of Kansas varsity team/individual that wins its Conference or National Championship. Head Coaches submit ring requests to the Compliance Office and the Sport Supervisor for approval using the Special Achievement form. The Director of Athletics and Sport Supervisor may provide additional awards at their discretion.  Individual champion rings are ordered by the Assistant AD for Equipment Operations at the culmination of each team’s season.

The Director of Athletics has the discretion to provide rings to teams that qualify for post-season play and advance to the culminating event of their respective championship (e.g. Final Four, College Cup Final Four, or World Series)but do not win the conference championship. The sport supervisor must submit request to Athletic Director with justification.

Each individual sport recognizes outstanding contributions by the sport’s student-athletes at an annual recognition event. Head coaches must check with the Compliance Office prior to scheduling their sport banquet to ensure compliance with NCAA regulations. The following must be completed prior to the event:

1) The Special Achievement form (provided by the Compliance Office) must be filled out, have the necessary approvals, and be on file in the Compliance Office.

2) Head coaches must complete an event scheduling form with the Williams Educational Fund in order to ensure that the event is entered onto a master calendar.

3) Coaches must obtain a purchase order (PO) for award purchases from the Business Office. Purchase requisitions for awards will be forwarded from the Business Office to Compliance for approval prior to the issuance of a PO. When coaches submit their award orders, they are also required to provide their event summary, designating the type of event desired, date, location, awards to be presented and funding source.

Additional banquets may be sponsored by Kansas Athletics, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, or the Williams Educational Fund.

Student-athletes who have excelled academically may be nominated to receive scholastic achievement awards or may be recognized by Kansas Athletics, the Big 12 Conference, or the NCAA. Such awards may include:

1) Robert E. Frederick Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year. Awarded to one male and one female senior student-athlete. Head coaches submit nominations to Student Athlete Support Services. Winners are selected by an Honors Committee (which is named by the Athletics Director) and are announced at the annual Jayhawk Senior Celebration.

2) Athletics Director’s Honor Roll. Each student-athlete who is an active member of one of the department’s athletics programs or the Spirit Squad is eligible for this award. Winners must earn a grade point average of 3.00 (on 4.00 scale) or higher for a fall or spring semester. These student-athletes are honored at a home men’s basketball game in the spring semester and at the Jayhawk Senior Celebration.

3) Marlene Mawson Exemplary Student-Athlete of the Year Award.

  • Selection Criteria:
    • The award shall be given to a female athlete who has played an integral role on her respective team for four sport seasons at the University of Kansas.
    • The award shall be given to a female athlete who has earned a minimum of a 2.5 grade point average at the University while competing on her athletics team.
    • The award shall be given to a female who is judged by her coaches and teammates     to have competitive ideals which have been demonstrated through her behavior during her collegiate athletics career.
    • The award shall be given to a female who is judged by her administrators, coaches, and/or teammates to have demonstrated leadership qualities, either within athletics or in other campus activities.
  • Nomination and Selection Process:
    • Selection criteria and a nomination form will be distributed to all Head Coaches of    KU Women’s Sports Teams in the fall.
    • Head Coaches of women’s sports teams may submit one nominee from their respective team each year that there is a viable candidate which fulfills the criteria for the award.
    • The selection will be made from the qualified nominees each year by a committee with representation from KU Athletics Administration, WEF, K-Club, and Student Athlete Support.
  • Presentation of the Award:
    • The award shall be presented each year at a women’s basketball game.
    • The award shall be represented with a personalized plaque or framed citation to be given to the recipient.
    • The recipient shall receive recognition publicly during a video board message or on-court ceremony during a women’s basketball game.

1) The Walter Byers Scholarship. One male and one female student-athlete annually are awarded postgraduate scholarships in recognition of outstanding academic achievement in graduate study. There is a stipend associated with this award. Student-athletes who are seniors or who have graduated and are completing their final year of athletics eligibility at the institution from which they received their degree may be nominated for this award by institutional representatives. Nominees must have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) and exhibit good character, leadership and citizenship.

2) NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. Scholarships are awarded annually to varsity athletes who compete in sports in which the NCAA conducts national championship competitions. Eligibility is restricted to student-athletes attending NCAA member institutions. Students must be nominated in the academic year in which they complete their final season of eligibility for intercollegiate athletics. Nominees must have a minimum grade point average of 3.200 (based on a 4.000 scale) and must be nominated by the faculty athletics representative or the faculty athletics representative designee of an NCAA member institution.

3) Today’s Top Eight. This award honors the top eight outstanding senior student-athletes for the fall sports and the top eight seniors for the winter and spring sports; an appropriate award is presented at the annual awards dinner. The nominee must be a varsity letter winner and must complete intercollegiate eligibility in the nomination year. The award is based on athletic ability (50%); academic achievement (25%); and character, leadership and activities (25%).

1) Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Certificates are sent to each honoree. Recipients include every student-athlete with a semester GPA of at least a 3.0. An alphabetized list is sent to the conference office

2) All-Big 12 Academic Teams. Recipients are selected throughout the academic year for each sport towards the end of each season of competition. Criteria include for First Team a 3.2 cumulative GPA or previous year GPA and 60% participation as a letter winner. Second team includes at least 3.0 cumulative GPA or previous year GPA and 60% participation. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible their first year of academic residence.

3) Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship. This award is granted annually. Student-athlete nominees must have at least a 3.200 GPA and have participated in at least 2 years at a member institution. Member institutions submit one male and one female nominee.

4) Big 12 Medal Winners. Awarded to one male and one female senior. Recipients are student athletes who best balanced academics and athletics, excelling in both.
5) Big 12 Community Service Award. This award is intended to recognize a student-athlete who has volunteered to the campus – wide community, his or her time toward charitable or civic activities that make a significant difference. The nominees must have been in attendance at least one term at the nominating institution and should be academically eligible for the year he or she is being nominated. He or she does not have to be a letter winner. Nominations should be approved by the student-athlete advisory committee.

6) Big 12 Good Works Team In recognition of the community service efforts by the Conference’s student-athletes, the Big 12 will announce a “Good Works” team. Each athletic year, 12-person teams will be announced for Fall (football, cross country, volleyball, soccer); Winter (men’s basketball, women’s basketball, swimming & diving, gymnastics, wrestling); and Spring (golf, tennis, track & field, softball, baseball) sports. Criteria for nomination consist of significant community service, good academic standing, and participation in a Big 12 sponsored sport.

1) CoSIDA Postgraduate Scholarship. A scholarship will be awarded at the end of the fall and the spring semesters. Candidates should be planning to attend graduate school in the next school year with intent to enter the sports information field after completing graduate school. A minimum of 3.00 (based on a 4.0 scale) for all college work is required; applicants must have been accepted and demonstrate proof of acceptance to a graduate school. For consideration for the award, each candidate should send three samples of his/her work, three letters of recommendation, along with transcript.

2) ESPN The Magazine Academic All- American Teams selected by CoSIDA. CoSIDA selects ESPN The Magazine Academic All America Teams in twelve programs: men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, track/cross country, and men’s and women’s at-large. The nominee must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA (on a 4.00 scale). He/she must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing and must have completed at least one full academic year at the institution. Nominated athletes must have participated in 50% of the team’s games.

3) ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic- All District VII. Recipients must be at least a sophomore with a 3.2 cumulative GPA and at least one academic year at the institution. Available for gymnastics, soccer, wrestling, swimming, and cross-country.

1) Arthur Ashe, Jr Sports Scholars Award. Honors minority student-athletes who have excelled academically, athletically, and in their community by publishing their names and pictures in Diverse Issues in Higher Education. The student must have a 3.2 cumulative grade point average, completed one full academic year at the institution, been an active member of an athletic team, and been active in service to the institution or community.

2) Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award (N4A). Intended to honor young men and women who have overcome great personal, academic and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics and have made significant personal strides toward success. Nominations are made by the student-athlete’s academic counselor. The student-athlete must have completed three semesters/four quarters at the nominating institution with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA for 36 semesters/48 quarter hours and must be in good academic standing. The nominee must be a letter winner.

3) National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Postgraduate Scholarship. To honor young men for their achievements in the classroom and on the campus as well as on the football field. Each recipient receives a plaque at the annual Hall of Fame Awards dinner and each qualifies for a $18,000 fellowship after he has been accepted into graduate school.

The K Club Lifetime Service Award  formally recognizes a former athlete’s continued service to Kansas Athletics and its student-athletes.  The recipient of this award upholds and advances the K Club mission of ”Preserve, Support, Connect,” in general, with a strong emphasis on “Supporting” current student-athletes.   Examples include mentoring and volunteering. This award is not required on an annual basis.

  • Nomination Process:
    • Members of the K Club Board who are appointed by the Board President will constitute the nominating committee. Open nominations are accepted.  The nominating committee will make recommendations to the entire K Club Board at the Board’s January meeting.  The K Club Board will make the final decision.  The award will be presented at the Jayhawk Senior Celebration.