Wisconsin’s Barnes, Davison earn Big Ten Medal of Honor

Premier conference award recognizes academic and athletic excellence

Two of the University of Wisconsin’s exemplary student-athletes have received the Big Ten Conference’s highest distinction.

Volleyball libero Lauren Barnes and men’s basketball player Brad Davison were named April 19 as Wisconsin’s recipients of the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The awards were presented as part of UW’s 2022 Buckinghams: The Student-Athlete Annual Showcase of Excellence. This year’s Buckinghams were held in person at Overture Center.

Barnes is the sixth Badger volleyball player to receive the Big Ten Medal of Honor and the second straight after Sydney Hilley earned the award in 2021. Davison is Wisconsin’s first men’s basketball player to receive the award since Joe Krabbenhoft in 2009 and the 21st overall sport recipient.

The conference’s most prestigious award, the Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.”

The conference’s exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. Only one male and one female student-athlete now receive this award per Big Ten institution.

Barnes is a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) second-team All-American as well as a two-time second-team All-Big Ten pick. She was the starting libero on the Badgers’ 2021 NCAA Championship team and the 2020 and 2021 Big Ten championship teams. Wisconsin also competed in three-straight NCAA tournaments during her tenure, advancing to at the least the national semifinal level.

The 5-foot-6 Barnes was a four-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week as well as a two-time team captain. A three-year member of the Badger squad after playing her first two seasons at Minnesota, Barnes ended her career ranked seventh at UW in digs per set (3.67) and 17th in total digs (1,078). Barnes was also named to the 2019 and 2020 USA Volleyball Collegiate National teams.

Barnes was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. She graduated in May 2021 with a degree in business: finance and information systems and is will graduate in May with a master’s degree in business analytics.

Davison, a 2022 second-team All-Big Ten honoree, helped lead the Badgers to a pair of Big Ten regular season titles during his time at Wisconsin. A team leader since he stepped onto campus as a freshman, Davison played in 101 wins for the Badgers and appeared in a school record 161 career games, making 157 starts.

He finished his career as the school’s leader in 3-pointers made (300) and also ranked in the top 10 in school annals for points (1,827), assists (343) and steals (160).

For his work on the court, in the classroom and in the community, Davison was named a 2021-22 Senior CLASS First-Team All-American. A four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Davison earned his undergraduate degree in business: management and human resources in the spring of 2021. He is currently on track to graduate in the spring of 2022 with a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis.

In the community, Davison was active with Wisconsin’s “Badgers Give Back” community outreach program, leading the team in community service hours in each of his seasons on campus. He committed over 60 hours of his personal time and participated in nearly 50 different “Badgers Give Back” community service events.