Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) staff and a panel of college football experts create a pre-season Watch List of approximately 50 players. During the season, LSC staff and the experts select and recognize outstanding performers for the weekly Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll. Names are added to the Honor Roll as the season progresses based on performance. LSC staff creates and distributes press releases to sports journalists throughout the nation and to sports information directors at all FBS schools. The releases are posted on www.paulhornungaward.com.
After the completion of week 11 in the regular season, LSC staff creates and distributes an informational packet on players who made the Honor Roll to the 17-member Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee. The Selection Committee members vote for their top three choices for PHA Finalists using this list and any other FBS players that meet the PHA criteria. Results are based on a 5-3-1 point system (1st place – 5 points; 2nd place – 3 points; 3rd place – 1 point). A designated number of players with the most points comprises the Finalist List.
In early December following conference championship weekend, the Selection Committee members choose their top three players from the finalist pool, ranked in order 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place. The 5-3-1 point system will be used to determine the winner.
Fan voting accounts for the 18th vote (approximately 6 percent of the overall votes) for both finalists and the winner using the 5-3-1 point system.
The public accounting firm Dean Dorton tabulates the votes for the Finalists and Award winner. Selection Committee voting is conducted via a secured email application. Fan voting is done online at www.votepaulhornung.com. No member of the LSC board, staff or Hornung Award Advisory Committee tabulates votes.
The essence of the Award – versatility enabling a player to make an impact at numerous positions on the field – suggests that a dynamic list of candidates will emerge as the college football season progresses. With this factor in mind, the Paul Hornung Award Advisory Committee and Selection Committee will adhere to the following timeline for 2021:
- July 29 – Develop and publicize an Official Watch List
- November 14 – List of candidates provided to Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee
- November 17 – Finalists announced
- December 8 – Winner announced
- March 8, 2022 – Host winner at official awards banquet in Louisville, Ky.
To be eligible, during the selection process a candidate must be in good standing and eligible on his team, eligible with the NCAA and play significant time during most or all of the season. Decisions regarding student-athlete status for the Award will be made by the LSC staff and Advisory Committee. In addition to starting or playing significant downs on offense or defense, candidates will be measured by performance from among the following criteria:
- Play multiple positions on offense and/or multiple positions on defense
- Start as a position player on offense or defense and play a significant role on special teams
- Perform as a two-way player who starts either on offense or defense, and is used on the other side of the ball in some meaningful capacity
- Make a significant impact during big games such as scoring, big plays, productivity, etc.
- Elevate the team’s performance through leadership displayed by excelling in multiple roles at one or more positions
2021 Selection Committee Members
The Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee is comprised of college football experts from around the country:
- Mike Archer, former college, CFL and NFL football coach
- Brandon Boykin, 2011 Paul Hornung Award Winner, NFL player, sports commentator
- Tim Brando, FOX Sports play-by-play announcer; host College Football Today
- Gil Brandt, NFL.com personnel guru; recognized as pioneer in NFL / college football scouting for Dallas Cowboys
- Christine Brennan, USA Today national sports columnist; author; commentator ABC News, Fox Sports Radio, ESPN
- Emilie Deutsch, CBS Sports VP of original programming
- Katie George, ACC Network
- Sam Madison, Sports radio host; retired NFL All Pro DB & Super Bowl NY Giants
- Ivan Maisel, National columnist and college football editor, ESPN.com; author
- Mike Pereira, Fox Sports NFL / College Football rules analyst
- Jeremy Schaap, ESPN anchor / reporter; ABC News correspondent; author
- Brad Sham, sportscaster known as the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys”
- Phil Simms, CBS Sports analyst; retired NY Giants All-Pro / Super Bowl MVP QB
- Phil Steele, College and professional football sports writer and analyst
- Aaron Taylor, CBS College Sports Network; DL Notre Dame and Green Bay Packers
- Mike Tirico, NBC Sports broadcaster
- Lesley Visser, CBS Sports reporter, voted No. 1 female sports journalist of all time