Former Nebraska athletics director Tom Osborne is best known for his success as the head coach of Nebraska, but his playing days saw him thrive in the NAIA at Hastings College. In honor of his dedication and support of the NAIA, the organization has renamed their football championship trophy in honor of the iconic figure.
“The NAIA is excited to unveil the Tom Osborne National Championship Trophy, in honor of one of our most prominent former student-athletes,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “Even before there was a formal Champions of Character program, Osborne exemplified the five core values during his time as a student-athlete and has continued to do so during his tenure as a coach, politician and athletic director.”
Osborne is widely respected throughout the NCAA and that respect is also seen in the NAIA, an organization similar to the NCAA in principle but consisting entirely of smaller schools that would be similar to many Division 2 or Division 3 schools at the NCAA level. At Hastings Osborne played football, basketball and ran on the track team.
While this is a fantastic honor for one of the legends of the sports of college football, it is a shame to also see one of the sport’s more interesting championship trophies receive a face lift. The old championship trophy was huge and had an actual football helmet on top of it. Now the helmet is gone but the trophy still looks pretty large.
If you were wondering, the NCAA does not award a national championship trophy at the FBS level, although there are a number of various trophies to be awarded for a national championship. The national championship trophies awarded to the FCS, Division 2 and Division 3 football champions are not named after anybody.