BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Leonard Fournette, LSU’s record-setting running back, has been named the men’s recipient of the 2015-16 SEC Sportsmanship Award, the league office announced on Thursday.
Fournette joins women’s recipients Lloydricia Cameron of the Florida track & field team and the Kentucky Volleyball team and support staff as the winners of the honor, which is being awarded for the ninth time. The honorees were selected by a vote of the SEC’s 14 Directors of Athletics.“There are many stories of sportsmanship and generosity on the part of Southeastern Conference student-athletes, and these three stories are indicative of a spirit that is pervasive in the SEC,” said Commissioner Greg Sankey. “We are proud of Leonard, Lloydricia and the Kentucky volleyball program for setting a standard of sportsmanship and exhibiting that spirit that lives in the heart of SEC student-athletes, coaches and staff members.”
Fournette of LSU earned the men’s SEC Sportsmanship Award for his actions in support of the people of South Carolina after unprecedented flooding in that state.
LSU’s scheduled road game against South Carolina was moved to Baton Rouge due to the flooding, reminiscent of the devastation in New Orleans that Fournette experienced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. During a live on-air interview with ESPN following LSU’s game against the Gamecocks, Fournette announced to the nation that he would auction his jersey from the game to help the flood victims in South Carolina. The jersey auction was approved by the NCAA and raised $101,000, the most ever generated for an auction by an active college student-athlete.
“We are very proud of Leonard and the role he played in raising awareness and generating money to aid the victims of the devastating flooding in South Carolina last fall,” LSU Vice-Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said. “This is a tremendous honor for Leonard and one that is every bit as important as the accolades he’s earned for his performance on the football field.”
In addition to this prestigious SEC honor, Fournette capped his sophomore campaign at LSU by setting the school’s single-season rushing record with 1,953 yards to go along a school-record 22 rushing touchdowns. He rushed for 200 or more yards four times in 2015 and earned first team All-America honors as well as being a first-team All-SEC selection.
“I’m very appreciative and humbled by this award,” Fournette said. “After suffering through Hurricane Katrina as a child and the devastation that it brought to my hometown of New Orleans, I somewhat understood what the people in South Carolina were experiencing. I wanted to do anything that I could to help make a difference and I appreciate LSU, the SEC and the NCAA for allowing me to raise money and awareness by auctioning my game jersey from the South Carolina game.”