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Big 12 Conference - Success on the Field and in the Classroom

The Big 12 Conference has established a consistent level of national suc- cess on the field and in the classroom as it enters its 13th season in 2008- 09.

cancerous tumor in 2007, but rebounded to win All-America honors at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Since it began play in 1996-97, the Conference can boast 31 team crowns and over 385 individual NCAA Championships. The success continued during 2007-08 as Kansas captured the Big 12’s first national title in men’s basketball, while the league added 31 individual crowns.

Competitive excellence, scholarship and sportsmanship are all equal com- ponents of the Big 12 philosophy. All-Big 12 teams and Academic All-Big 12 squads are recognized for each sport at the end of their respective seasons.

Over the past four seasons a total of 12 NCAA trophies have been hoisted by Big 12 institutions, with at least one national crown won in all but one year for the Conference, including each of the past 11 seasons.

At the end of each academic year, the Conference honors its top male and female student-athletes with the Big 12 Athlete of the Year and Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year awards.

The Big 12 leads all conferences with five appearances in Bowl Cham- pionship Series title games. League squads have played for the football national championship five times in the last nine years with berths in 14 BCS games overall, including two in 2007. The Big 12 led all conferences with four teams ranked in the Top 10 in the final national polls a season ago. In addition, an all-time high eight league players earned consensus All-America recognition in 2007, more than any other conference.

In basketball, nine men’s and women’s teams have advanced to their re- spective Final Fours in the past seven seasons as the Big 12 continues its place among the elite intercollegiate athletic confer- ences. The six men’s Final Four participants since 2002 is more than any conference. Numerous nation- al honors have been won by basketball student-ath- letes during the league’s history, with Michael Beasley (Kansas State), D.J. Augustin (Texas) and Courtney Paris (Oklahoma) the most recent to garner accolades as consensus All-America in 2007-08.

Institutions can also nominate student-athletes for the prestigious Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarships at the end of each academic year. A total of 201 scholars have received over $1.2 million in postgradu- ate financial aid through the first 12 years of the program.

The Big 12 sponsors 21 sports. Men’s squads include baseball, basket- ball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, swimming & diving, tennis and wrestling. Women’s teams are fielded in basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

The conference is made up of 12 institutions that have shared many traditional rivalries throughout their his- tories. Member schools include - Baylor University, University of Colorado, Iowa State University, Univer- sity of Kansas, Kansas State University, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of Okla- homa, Oklahoma State University, University of Texas, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University.

The Big 12 and its member institutions are committed to a competitive en- vironment where sportsmanship and fair play take center stage. Whether on the field, in the classroom, or within the community the student-ath- letes, administrators, coaches and game officials of the Big 12 support the highest ideals in sportsmanship.

Big 12 student-athletes also do well in garnering national academic recog- nition. Sarah Pavan (Nebraska) was named Academic All-America of the Year in volleyball the past two seasons by ESPN The Magazine and Col- lege Sports Information Directors of America with a 4.0 grade-point aver- age in Biochemistry. She also won the national academic honor presented for all sports in 2006-07 and was named recipient of the prestigious 2006- 07 Honda-Broderick Award as Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. She is the first athlete since the Big 12 was formed to earn the accolade. In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Augustin was an Academic All- America First Team choice. In its history, the conference can boast of over 300 academic honorees, averaging more than 25 each season.

The institutions created a league that encompasses seven states, over 45 million people and television households in 18 of the top 100 markets within its geographic footprint.

The conference conducts championships for 20 of its 21 sports. Each championship helps to determine teams and/or individuals that will rep- resent the Conference in national postseason competition. The winner of the Big 12 football championship game earns the league’s berth into the prestigious Bowl Championship Series.

In the last several years the Big 12 has increased its bowl agreements and expanded television opportunities for all sports through contracts with ABC/ESPN, FSN and CBS College Sports. Most recently, the league re- newed and expanded its multi-year arrangement with ABC/ESPN, Inc. The new contract begins in 2008-09.

In its first 12 years, the Conference has distributed more than $1 billion to its 12 member institutions.

The Big 12 can boast of other stories that combine on and off the field success. Patience Knight (Texas Tech) was the recipient of the Honda Inspiration Award in 2008, given to an outstanding female college athlete who overcomes adversity to excel in her sport. She was diagnosed with a

The Big 12 staff administers to over 4,600 student-athletes in 21 sports. The conference is headquartered in Irving, Texas.

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