UNLV senior quarterback Kurt Palandech is one of 71 FBS-level semifinalists for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments, as announced Wednesday by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF). The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
Palandech, a former junior college transfer from Plainfield, Illinois, is in his third season at UNLV and has started six of his 25 games at quarterback as well as serving as the team's holder on kicks. As a Rebel he has passed for 1,441 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 675 net yards and nine more scores.
Of the 181 overall semifinalists from the FBS, FCS, Division II and III and NAIA levels, Palandech is one of just 60 with a career cumulative grade point average of 3.7 or better. He earned his bachelor's degree in business in the spring with a 3.76 GPA and is currently pursuing his MBA at the school. Before the season, Palandech became the first quarterback to be voted by UNLV coaches and seniors as the Wiesner Award winner, an honor that goes to the player who best exemplifies the courage, enthusiasm, dedication and toughness of the late Mr. Tom Wiesner. The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on November 1, and each will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 5. Live during the event, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 28th William V. Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
"The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools and coaches on their tremendous accomplishments," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist's achievements, showcasing their ability to balance academics and athletics at the highest level. The NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from this outstanding group of candidates."
Nominated by their schools' athletic communications offices, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, be a significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program became the first initiative in history to award postgraduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments, and it has recognized 828 outstanding individuals since its inception. The Campbell Trophy®, was first awarded in 1990.