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NCAA’s best to be honored at 2014 Convention

By Brian Burnsed

While much of the 2014 NCAA Convention will be devoted to shaping policies that govern the Association in the future, participants will also celebrate past achievements. Some of the NCAA’s most inspiring, talented and accomplished student-athletes will be honored in San Diego:

  • The NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award will be given to renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews at the Convention’s Opening Business Session on Thursday evening. Before he began operating on elite athletes from a litany of sports and spearheaded injury-prevention research, Andrews was an athlete himself – he competed as a pole vaulter at LSU in the early 1960s.
  • The Theodore Roosevelt Award will be presented to Billy Mills at Friday night’s NCAA Honors Celebration. Mills, a Native American runner at Kansas in the late 1950s, overcame racism, excelled in college and went on to win a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics in the 10,000-meter run.
  • The Today’s Top 10 will also be recognized at the NCAA Honors Celebration. Ten student-athletes who completed their athletics eligibility in the 2012-13 academic year will be saluted for their excellence both in and out of their respective fields of play.
  • The Silver Anniversary Award winners will be recognized alongside Today’s Top 10. Each is a former student-athlete who has gone on to notable accomplishments after their collegiate playing careers were over. The group includes six individuals who are 25 years removed from completing their college athletics eligibility.


Two additional awards will be presented at the Honors Celebration: The Award of Valor and the Inspiration Award. The Award of Valor will be given to Cameron Lyle, a New Hampshire track and field student-athlete (discus, shot put, hammer and weight throw) who donated bone marrow to a complete stranger. The Inspiration Award will be given to Jason Church, a former football player at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who joined the Army and lost his legs below the knee after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan. That didn’t stop Church from returning to the football field at La Crosse, where he accepted a Purple Heart during halftime of a football game