The Butkus Award, instituted in 1985, has been given annually to the top linebacker in college football. The award, named in honor of Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, is regarded as one of the elite individual honors in college football. This year, the Butkus family has taken stewardship of the Butkus Award to fully realize it's original purpose of honoring athletic achievement and service to the community. It will be presented by the Butkus Foundation and will be expanded to honor the nation's best high school and professional linebackers. The Butkus Award will be presented January 13, 2009, at the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago. An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee, headed by Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush and comprised of 51 experts including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, will conduct the selection process.
Haines was a 2007 All-Mid-American Conference Second-Team selection. He started all 13 games and led Ball State with 125 total tackles. Haines ranked 36th in the nation with 9.62 tackles per game, and led or tied for team-high honors in tackles in eight games.
The Cardinals tallied a 7-6 record last fall, and will open the 2008 season at Scheumann Stadium Thursday, Aug. 28, against Northeastern.