Oklahoma Sooner student-athletes Samaje Perine and Bryce Perry have been named Big 12 Sportpersons of the Year, sweeping both the male and female categories for the award in 2016-17.
This is the 17th year for the Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year Awards, which began in 2000-01. The award is presented each year to a male and female student-athlete who display an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement. The winners are determined by the vote of a media panel.
Perine ended his three-year career in football at Oklahoma as the school’s all-time rushing leader, passing the great Billy Sims for the top spot with 86 rushing yards in the Sooners’ Sugar Bowl victory in January over Auburn. He finished with 4,122 yards for his career, four more than Sims. His freshman season, Perine set the NCAA single-game rushing record with 427 yards in a game against Kansas.
Perry, a senior this past academic year, competed on the Oklahoma women’s cross country team and the women’s track and field team.
Both Perine and Perry exhibited extraordinary levels of sportsmanship in their respective sports this past year. Perine had a clear path to the end zone and an opportunity to score a touchdown against rival Oklahoma State late in the game last season, but with the Sooners already ahead by over two touchdowns, he chose to take a knee short of the goal line and allow the game clock to expire.
Perry, competing in her final Big 12 Cross Country Championship last fall, stopped to assist a fellow competitor from TCU, who had collapsed from apparent exhaustion with about a mile to go, and assisted her to the end of the race, completely disregarding her own finishing time and place in the race.
Both Sooner student-athletes were of excellent standing in the classroom this past school year, as well.
Perine was a CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors) Academic All-District First-Team selection in 2016 and a two-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. Perry was a three-time honoree on the Big 12 Cross Country and Track and Field All-Academic First Team. She was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll seven times and is an eight-time Sooner Scholar.
Perine’s off-the-field involvement include volunteer efforts with the Oklahoma City Food Bank. He volunteered with the Central Texas Food Bank while at home in Pflugerville, Texas, in the summer of 2016, completing 60 hours over two weeks. He also joined with others from the Sooner football team in helping rebuild a playground in Moore, Okla., that had been destroyed by a tornado.
Perry has been a regular community-service volunteer along with members of the OU women’s cross country team, making regular trips to help out at elementary schools in the area. She also joined a special outreach program last fall, accompanying team members to Full Circle Adult Day Care to interact with the program participants.
Ten Oklahoma student-athletes have received the Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year Award, and three different times, including this year, the Sooners have swept the two awards.