The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) hands out four major awards each academic year to honor the best and brightest Fighting Illini student-athletes. The Big Ten Medal of Honor is awarded annually to a male and female senior student-athlete who demonstrates proficiency in scholarship and athletics. The Dike Eddleman Awards are given to the student-athletes who distinguished themselves in athletic achievement. The Newcomer of the Year Awards go to the best athlete performing in his or her first year of competition at Illinois. And finally, the Fighting Illini Spirit Award honors athletes who exemplify the spirit, courage, effort and dedication of the Fighting Illini.
The Medal of Honor and the Spirit Awards are handed out at the annual Scholar-Athlete Reception (SAR) along with several other academic honors. Formerly called the Scholar-Athlete Banquet when it was held at Assembly Hall, the Scholar-Athlete Reception has taken place at the Colonnades Club in Memorial Stadium since 2009. The Eddleman and Newcomer of the Year Awards are announced in June following the conclusion of the spring sport seasons.