Oklahoma Quarterback Baker Mayfield Wins ESPY Over Katie Ledecky

American swimmer Katie Ledecky missed out on winning an ESPY Award on Wednesday evening at the 2018 ESPN-produced awards show for athletes. She was nominated for Best College Athlete, which in 2018 was a combined-gender award after honoring separate male and female College Athletes of the Year in prior editions.

The ESPY Awards, which stand for Excellence in Sports Yearly, is ESPN‘s annual awards program. The majority of the awards, including the one that Ledecky was nominated for, are decided in part by an online fan vote.

The 2018 College Athlete of the Year honor went to former University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The 2017 Heisman Award winner as the country’s best college football player, Mayfield won the award with 3rd-highest percentage of votes in the award’s history history. He led Oklahoma to its third-straight Big 12 Championship, ranked 2nd in the NCAA FBS with 4,627 passing yards in 2017, and led NCAA FBS with a 198.9 passer rating. Oklahoma finished the season with a 12-2 record, losing to Georgia 54-48 in the semi-finals off the College Football Playoff.

Ledecky, who turned pro after her redshirt sophomore season, is already one of the most-decorated female swimmers in history at just 21-years old. She owns 5 Olympic gold medals and one bronze, plus 14 World Championships across 3 editions. Her 14 total individual titles at the Olympics and long course World Championships are the most by any female swimmer in history.

She was not-unblemished at her 2018 college championship, however. While she won the 500 and 1650 frees, her best events among those on the NCAA D1 schedule, she took on the 400 IM (a race she hasn’t yet tried internationally) instead of the 200 free. While she broke the American Record in the event at Pac-12s, her teammate Ella Eastin won the race at NCAAs in 3:54.60 – three-and-a-half seconds faster than Ledecky, and the fastest time in history. Eastin won all 3 of her individual events at NCAAs and swam the fastest-ever time in each at some point in the season, and also added two winning relays.

Ledecky added a relay title in the 800 free relay, but only swam one relay at NCAAs: as compared to the two she swam as a freshman.

In her first race as a pro, at the Pro Swim Series stop in Indianapolis, Ledecky broke the World Record in the 1500 free.

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and no nomination for Dressel whatsoever….HMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!


“This guy was one of the best players in the nation, but hasnt proved himself in the pro leagues” Gets Award
“Ledecky has 10 of the fastest swims in history in the 400, has never been beaten internationally since beginning her international career in the 400, 800, and 1500, and has 6 Olympic medals” Doesnt get award
Are we not gonna act like ESPN has a ridiculous bias?


1) It’s always easier to declare someone ‘the best’ in individual sports
2) I didn’t know this was a lifetime achievement award. Guess Ledecky should win ‘best female college athlete’ every year until she retires.


Yes, It’s easier to declare someone “the best” when they have indisputable world record times & gold medals.


Baker Mayfield has to prove himself in the pro leagues to win a Best College Athlete award? Surely you see why that statement is problematic…

I guess they waited until to give Baker the award next season, after his first year in the NFL, so that they can validate his college season based on what he did after he was out of college.


Ledecky has more championships (both individually AND as a team) in college. Baker merely has a Heisman and a tertiary bowl game victory. When all is said and done, Ledecky will have been (already is in my opinion) the most dominant of the two, when it comes to their respective sport. Baker wins this award because it’s more marketable/debatable in the media, and they want to build his name up heading into the NFL season; not because he is “better” than Ledecky.


Merely a heisman award? That’s like the best award given to a college athlete. Ledeckys insane and Bc I love swimming and her I would’ve rather seen her get the award, but come one, compared to her international long course achievements, her college career was not earth shattering. I can see why they’d choose him over her


Yes, she merely broke American records 11 times, NCAA records 15 times, won 8 NCAA titles, 7 Pac-12 titles, was Academic All-American of the Year, won 5 World Championship races last summer and led her team to two straight NCAA Championships. It’s not a big deal though, she won the Honda Award as the nation’s best female college athlete last year.

The Grand inquisitor

Do people still watch ESPY’s? Didn’t know it was still a thing until informed of it here.


Congratulations to Miss Ledecky on being named today as the Academic All-American of the Year across all NCAA Div. 1 sports as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.


She has been basically robbed.


Ledecky had a great college season, but she wasn’t the best at NCAAs based on points, records, etc., so it would be awfully hard to make a case for Best College Athlete in 2018. I don’t see the controversy. This isn’t even a blip on Ledecky’s radar, she clearly has bigger things in mind than college swimming since she’s gone pro. It would be silly for us to get worked up about her missing out on an award from probably the least prestigious awards show in existence. Picking the best athlete among several different sports is always going to be an apples and oranges comparison. If Ledecky had won, the football people and Ella Easton fans, and any other athlete… Read more »


I agree. These comparisons that they make the the ESPY’s are arbitrary and impossible.

What make the Minnesota Miracle the “Best Moment” but not the “Best Play” when the entire shocker happened in one play? Why was Notre Dame winning the women’s bball natty a the “Best Play” but not the “Best Moment?”

Why is Donovan Mitchell a better breakout performer than Alvin Kamara?

At the end of the day, I think the best they do is nominate a couple extraordinary performers in each category, and try and pick the one whose performance emotionally best captured the spirit of the award, and then try and spread the love around so all the most worthy competitors get something.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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