Nathane Simniok is the 2014 recipient of the “All That’s Right in Sport” Award presented annually by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), a longtime supporter of the Musial Awards.
With 13 minutes left in regulation of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament semifinal in March, Nathane Simniok of College of the Ozarks and an Oklahoma Wesleyan player were battling for a loose ball that went out-of-bounds. The referee ruled the ball had been last touched by the Oklahoma Wesleyan player, and awarded the possession to College of the Ozarks. In the heat of competition and in an important late-season game, Nathane approached the official and informed him that he was actually the last one to touch the ball before it went out. Based on Nathane’s explanation, the referee reversed his decision and gave the ball back to Oklahoma Wesleyan. College of the Ozarks coach Steve Shepherd threw his hands up asking for an explanation, as he was on the other end of the court. The official yelled back to Shepherd, “Number 31 said he hit it last! He did the right thing!” Players from both teams and the crowd applauded Nathane for his honesty.
With the game on the line – the season on the line – Nathane did the right thing. College of the Ozarks lost the contest in overtime. A possession or two like the one Nathane was involved in could have swung the game in his team’s favor. But Nathane understood that it’s more important to possess good character than a trophy.