In 1982, the Big Ten Conference established a Big Ten Athlete of the Year award. The award is named after Jesse Owens, the legendary Ohio State track star. The following year, a parallel award for women, the Big Ten Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year, was created. After the December 2012 revelation that Suzy Favor had worked as a prostitute for a Las Vegas escort service, in July 2013 the Big Ten Conference removed Suzy Favor's name from the women's award.
The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.
^[Boudia Becomes First Diver To Win Big Ten's Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year Award: Six-time NCAA champion joins Glenn Robinson as Purdue's male winners. "Turner Selected Big Ten's Best Male Athlete for 2010"]. CBS Interactive. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2011-09-15.