Big 12 Conference Launches Champions for Life Campaign

IRVING, Texas – When the Big 12 opens its first full weekend of conference games this Saturday, it’ll do so against a backdrop of top-ranked programs, storied rivalries and frenzied action. It will also serve as a showcase for personal stories of some of the conference’s most remarkable student-athletes.

“Big 12 Champions for Life,” a new initiative of the Big 12 Conference, highlights the personal successes of its student-athletes and underscores the positive impact of athletic scholarship. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) promoting the campaign will debut Saturday, Oct. 3, during Big 12 Conference football games on ABC, ESPN2, FS1 and FSN. Ten of the 11 spots airing this weekend feature a student-athlete selected to appear in the campaign by his or her university. An 11th conference spot will highlight all 10 of the initially showcased athletes. Thirty-second versions of the spots will air during game telecasts, with longer versions appearing on

“We want to tell the often overlooked stories of our student-athletes,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “Ten outstanding student-athletes from across the conference will be featured in these initial spots, but we have much larger plans for Big 12 Champions for Life. By the time the academic year is complete, we will have profiled over 150 student-athletes. People need to understand how much student-athletes grow as individuals and as next-generation leaders once they arrive on campus. We believe Big 12 Champions for Life will provide a window into the lives of these extremely motivated young men and women.”

“Student-athletes enhance the campus environment for all of us, “said Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University, chair of the NCAA Board of Governors and member chairman of Big 12 Board of Directors. “The work ethic and dedication they display in classrooms and in athletic arenas is remarkable. Athletic scholarships provide these young people with an opportunity to better their lives. It is heartening that an overwhelming majority of student-athletes take full of advantage of this life-changing opportunity.”

Student-athletes featured in this weekend’s spots include: Spencer Drango (football), Baylor; Kyven Gadson (wrestling), Iowa State; Fish Smithson (football), Kansas; Sara Savatovic (track), Kansas State; Ty Darlington (football), Oklahoma; Zach Crabtree (football), Oklahoma State; Aiche Ndao (women’s basketball), TCU; Imani Boyette (women’s basketball), Texas; Toddrick Gotcher (basketball), Texas Tech; Kadeisha Buchanan (soccer), West Virginia.

While excellence in the classroom is a central theme in Big 12 Champions for Life, the campaign also focuses on stories of leadership, community service and obstacles overcome in the pursuit of higher education. Both current and former student-athletes from across the conference will be featured this academic year in spots that can be viewed on broadcast television, across social media platforms and on In addition, the website will serve as an informational resource supporting the value of an athletic scholarship in providing young people the opportunity to become leaders and enrich their communities.

To learn more, visit, and follow the campaign on Twitter (@Big12Champ4Life).