Back-to-school time is planning time, and most NAIA-member institutions have a year-long commitment to the NAIA Champions of Character program. As athletics administrators and coaches plan team activities around Champions of Character, it's also a good time to plan to nominate teams for the NAIA Champions of Character Team Awards.
"We encourage athletics administrators to think about nominations as a part of their planning process," said Kristin Gillette, Director of the NAIA Champions of Character Program. "The first nominations aren't due until November, but you want to think about submitting those nominations, and also plan out your calendar of activities for the year, as soon as possible."
Gillette says teams that focus on presenting the five core values of the Champions of Character program as the priority of their community outreach improve their chances of winning one of the prestigious awards.
"We're really looking for teams that take the five core values—integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership—and make the effort to teach them to different audiences in their community," Gillette said. "The way you choose to do that could vary greatly depending on the nature of your service, but that's really what the selection committees are looking for, not just examples of community service."
Twenty-three NAIA athletics teams are selected and honored throughout the year in conjunction with the NAIA Champions of Character program. The NAIA Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Awards are presented at the end of the season for each of the NAIA's 23 championship sports. The teams chosen do not have to advance to the NAIA championships to be eligible, but the awards are announecd in conjunction with the championship in the respective sport. (Nominations are due during the different sport seasons and are now submitted exclusively online.)
Teams that receive this prestigious award demonstrate in every day decisions the values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. These institutions and athletics programs strive for excellence in and out of competition and are part of communities throughout the country dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.
To learn more about the NAIA Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Awards, see the NAIA web site here.