October 31, 2017
I have been a college football award voter since at least 2009 (and possibly as far back as 2006 from what I can remember, although at this time, I can’t find proof that I voted in anything earlier than 2009). I love the individual college football awards; I have always taken pride in my status as a voter and always give my votes serious consideration.
In 2011, I was honored to be selected as a voter in the Lombardi Award which was given out by the Rotary Club of Houston. As you probably already know, the Lombardi Award was historically given to the best college football lineman or linebacker, however, before the 2016 season, the award was changed and any college football player was eligible for consideration.
However, a couple of weeks ago I was notified that the Rotary Lombardi Award will not be given out this 2017 season for reasons that are not entirely clear. The purpose of this post is not to speculate as to the reasons, but to simply inform readers of this decision. As far as I know, in July of 2017 the award was still scheduled to be awarded after the 2017 season, as a pre-season watch list was announced on July 31, 2017.
The following is the press release from the Houston Rotary Club that was released in late September 2017, explaining the current situation:
Laura M. Pennino, Senior PR Consultant for the Rotary Club of Houston
281 286 9398 office
713 419 1776 mobile
The Rotary Club of Houston Will Not Present the 48th Annual Rotary Lombardi Award in 2018 as Previously Announced
HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 29, 2017) – Representatives of the Lombardi family have elected to end the historic and long-standing relationship with the Rotary Club of Houston. Consequently, the Rotary Club of Houston will not present the 48th Annual Rotary Lombardi Award for the 2017-2018 College Football Season as previously announced. The Club is very proud of its history in promoting, managing and presenting the Rotary Lombardi Award for 47 years.
The Rotary Club of Houston is a non-profit volunteer organization that established the Rotary Lombardi Award to honor legendary coach Vince Lombardi and to raise funds to fight the deadly disease that claimed his life—Cancer. Since 1970, the Rotary Club of Houston has presented this prestigious award to a talented college football player who not only demonstrates outstanding athletic performance and skill, but exemplifies the type of discipline, courage and wisdom that define Coach Lombardi’s exceptional brand of leadership. Proceeds from the Rotary Lombardi Award have benefitted three designated charities—the American Cancer Society, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer Center.
“The Rotary Club of Houston applauds the numerous volunteers who have provided countless hours of service to support the mission of the Rotary Lombardi Award. Our members remain committed to the Rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self’ and will continue to raise funds and awareness to battle Cancer,” commented Rick Olsen, President of the Rotary Club of Houston for the 2017-2018 calendar year.
In the immediate aftermath of “Hurricane Harvey” thousands of people remain displaced and face a challenging recovery. The Rotary Club of Houston will continue to provide assistance to those in need during this crisis. Rotarians, like the city they serve, are “Houston Strong!”
About The Rotary Club of Houston
The Rotary Club of Houston, founded in 1912, is the oldest and largest Rotary club in the greater Houston area. As a charter representative of Rotary International, a worldwide service organization with over 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries, the Rotary Club of Houston continues to provide assistance to various local and global community service campaigns. Notwithstanding Rotary’s international pledge to eradicate Polio, the Rotary Club of Houston sponsors several programs that address literacy, child welfare, veteran assistance, and public health. The Rotary Club of Houston is also credited with helping to establish Goodwill Industries and Little League Baseball in Houston, and actively participated in scholarship programs sponsored by the Houston Endowment and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
For more information, please visit www.rotaryhouston.org.
I am not sure if, or when, the Lombardi Award will ever be back. However, my hope is that it returns soon, as it is one of the great college football awards.