Story courtesy of Wayne State's Sports Information Department | Cameron Weidenthaler
DETROIT -- The Wayne State University Department of Athletics was named a finalist for the 2021 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence, an accolade recognizing initiatives in the past year that exemplify the Division II philosophy, community engagement and student-athlete leadership.
Twenty-eight schools and one conference have been named finalists for the 2021 Division II Award of Excellence. One finalist was chosen from each of the division's 23 conferences. The last time there was a nomination from each conference was in 2015. Six additional finalists were picked as at-large honorees for submitting a strong nomination that was not chosen as the finalist for their conference.
Division II honors its members each year for conducting events that promote student-athletes giving back and serving as leaders within their communities or on their campuses. A committee of athletics administrators determined this year's finalists, and the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee selects the winner, who will be announced at the Division II business session Jan. 15 at the virtual 2021 NCAA Convention.
Each finalist will receive $500. The winner will receive an additional $2,500, while the runner-up will receive $1,250 and third place will receive $1,000. All prize money is intended for future SAAC initiatives or community engagement events.
The Warrior men's basketball program was recognized for its participation in the LINK program where student-athletes partnered with the Local Intervention Network for Kids for the 13th year in a row. This program allows the men's basketball program to visit an area middle school to tutor, mentor and be present in the lives of the youth.
The Award of Excellence began as the Division II Community Engagement Award in 2008, and it was accompanied by a Division II Game Environment Award in 2010. At the 2014 Convention, Division II combined the two awards to allow the division to give larger prizes and prestige to those member conferences or institutions that participated.