The Athletic Department at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO), was notified by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) that Rylee Bayless has been selected as the 2016 NJCAA Betty Jo Garber Female Athlete of the Year. The NJCAA Executive Committee chose Bayless from among the many qualified candidates to receive this prestigious honor. “This is the first time in the history of NEO Athletics that an athlete has received such a prominent award,” said Dale Patterson, athletic director for NEO. “Rylee has kept NEO Softball and the college in the limelight as she has set and broken school records and been awarded numerous honors. We are very proud of her and her accomplishments.”
The Betty Jo Garber Award was created by the NJCAA in 1992 in honor of women’s basketball coach Betty Jo Garber. Graber was instrumental in women’s sports in the NJCAA as she served on committees, helped established the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, and is a member of the National Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. The Betty Jo Garber Award is given to the top female student-athlete who exhibits leadership, dedication, service, and resilience. In addition to this prestigious award, Bayless was also the only softball athlete to be named NJCAA Player of the Year back-to-back for her performance in 2015 and 2016. She has signed with Oklahoma State University to continue her education and softball career.