Gabe Ikard can add Big 12 Male Sportsperson of the Year to his long list of accolades, as the conference announced him as the recipient of the annual honor Thursday.
The award, which began in 2000-01, recognizes student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service during the academic year. Criteria for the award include examples of sportsmanship and ethical conduct, citizenship and academic achievement. The former Sooner football player and May 2013 OU graduate excelled in all such areas.
Oklahoma entered the 2013 season with the naming of a new starting quarterback. As a team captain, starting center and roommate to one of the quarterbacks, Ikard found himself constantly in the middle of the situation. He quickly became the face and voice of the Sooners, setting an example for his teammates of how to handle difficult questions by always supporting each quarterback, his coaches and the decisions that were made throughout the season. Ikard's leadership helped carry the Sooners to a Sugar Bowl win where due to injuries, he was the only starting offensive lineman to play his regular position in the game. He concluded the season by earning Consensus All-America honors.
Ikard was also a leader in community service activities. He was named 2013 Big Man on Campus, an honor reserved for those who are among the best in academics, campus participation, leadership or community service. Ikard also participated in relief efforts after deadly tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma in May 2013. His civic honors include winning the 2013 Wuerffel Trophy, Selmon Spirit Award and Don Key Award. He was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, William V. Campbell Trophy and Bobby Bowden Award. Ikard also participated in a mission trip to Haiti with the OU football and women's basketball programs.
The Oklahoma City native earned his bachelor's degree in May 2013 with a 4.00 grade point average and special distinction honors. Ikard was the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year for football and became the first OU football student-athlete to be named Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America three times. He was selected to the Hampshire Honor Society by the National Football Foundation and received the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award. Ikard was also the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for football and earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship among other academic achievements.
Past OU recipients of the Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year award include Blake Griffin (men's basketball; 2008-09), Ashley Paris (women's basketball; 2008-09) and Hollie Vise (women's gymnastics; 2009-10).