Nominees are submitted by each Big 12 institution and selected, based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship, by a media panel as well as fan voting conducted through the Big 12's social media outlets.
Ricketts garnered the 2013 Honda Cup as the nation's top female collegiate student-athlete after leading Oklahoma to the Women's College World Series title. She received the Honda Award for softball and was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. During the WCWS, Ricketts went 4-0 in the circle with 39 strikeouts in 31 innings while hitting .412 to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. She hit two home runs and accumulated six RBI from the plate, including driving in all four runs in the Championship Series finale.
The winningest pitcher in OU history, Ricketts was the 2013 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and recognized on the All-Big 12 First Team and Defensive Team. She was a NFCA All-America first team selection and named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on five occasions as a senior. The dual threat started all 61 of the Sooners' games, 40 at pitcher and 21 as the designated player. Ricketts ranked second in the country in shutouts (16), third in wins (35), fifth in hits allowed per game (3.61), sixth in strikeouts (350) and eighth in ERA (1.23) and strikeouts per seven innings (10.3).
Ricketts graduated in four years with a degree in communication. She was a four-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and Sooner Scholar honoree. The San Jose, Calif., native assisted the Sooner softball team's efforts with tornado disaster relief efforts in the midst of OU's postseason drive in 2013. She took a special interest in a local youth team who had lost a teammate in the deadly storms - a young pitcher who had looked up to Ricketts.
Klein ended his career as the only quarterback from a Bowl Championship Series automatic qualifier school in the BCS era to rush for at least 20 touchdowns and pass for at least 10 in multiple seasons. He also set the FBS record for rushing touchdowns by a signal-caller in consecutive seasons, a mark that now stands at 50, and had a nation's-best 18 games with at least one passing and rushing touchdown since the beginning of the 2011 campaign.
The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year and Manning Award. Klein was named a Second Team All-American by Walter Camp and the Associated Press. Conference coaches selected him the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team. He established K-State top 10 marks in 35 career, season or single-game categories, including eight school records.
A Loveland, Colo., native, Klein was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team and achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average in the Fall of 2012 during football season. He was named to the AFCA Good Works Team and was a Senior CLASS Award and ARA Sportsmanship Award finalist. Klein also served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and participated in many community service projects including Read to Achieve, Adopt a Family, Special Olympics and local church and youth groups.
Other female candidates for Big 12 Athlete of the Year included Brittney Griner (Baylor), Betsy Saina (Iowa State), Maggie Hull (Kansas), Petra Niedermayerova (Kansas State), Natalja Piliusina (Oklahoma State), Lorraine Ugen (TCU), Haley Eckerman (Texas), Kim Kaufman (Texas Tech) and Amanda Nugent (West Virginia).
Male nominees were Nick Florence (Baylor), Scott Fernandez (Iowa State), Ben McLemore (Kansas), Kendric Maple (Oklahoma), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Charles Silmon (TCU), Ryan Crouser (Texas), Kennedy Kithuka (Texas Tech) and Harrison Musgrave (West Virginia).
Big 12 Athletes of the Year
|2012-13||Keilani Ricketts, Oklahoma||Collin Klein, Kansas State|
|2011-12||Brittney Griner, Baylor||Robert Griffin III, Baylor|
|2010-11||Jessica Beard, Texas A&M||Taylor Jungmann, Texas|
|2009-10||Lisa Koll, Iowa State||Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska|
|2008-09||Destinee Hooker, Texas||Sam Bradford, Oklahoma|
|2007-08||Sarah Pavan, Nebraska||Chase Daniel, Missouri|
|2006-07||Sarah Pavan, Nebraska||Ben Askren, Missouri|
|2005-06||Cat Osterman, Texas||Vince Young, Texas|
|2004-05||Cat Osterman, Texas||Derrick Johnson, Texas|
|2003-04||Nicole Ohlde, Kansas State||Jason White, Oklahoma|
|2002-03||Cat Osterman, Texas||Nick Collison, Kansas|
|2001-02||Stacey Dales-Schuman, Oklahoma||Cael Sanderson, Iowa State|
|2000-01||Greichaly Cepero, Nebraska||Josh Heupel, Oklahoma|
|1999-00||Erin Aldrich, Texas||Charles Howell, Oklahoma State|
|1998-99||Suziann Reid, Texas||Ricky Williams, Texas|
|1997-99||Vera Ilyina, Texas||Grant Wistrom, Nebraska|
|1996-97||Nanceen Perry, Texas||Jacque Vaughn, Kansas|