So let's consider ASRock's Z97M Pro4 on its own merits. At $100, it's the most affordable Z97 board we've reviewed to date. And you actually get a lot of board for the money. It doesn't have all the toys, but most of the limitations are pretty obvious going in. You know it doesn't have M.2 or SLI. The CrossFireX support is a little misleading, but overall the Pro4 doesn't pretend to be something it's not. It's a single-GPU Z board that gives you respectable overclocking capability. It's not the fastest in any respect, but it was able to push our i7 almost to its limits.
So what does that mean for an award? Well, like with the ASRock X99E-ITX/ac, it's a somewhat tricky matter. Unlike its X99 brother, I can't give the Z97M Pro4 the "Choice" award since it certainly is not top in its class. I can't award a "Recommended" award (at least not now) since it does have competition in the microATX Z97 field and we haven't reviewed them yet. That leaves the Approved award. The Pro4 certainly met my expectations; the question is whether it exceeded them. That depends on how it stacks up against the other four mATX boards I've got in queue right now. Each of them costs more than the Pro4, but they also have more features. It's very possible the Pro4 will get an official recommendation, but for now it's in a holding pattern.
I will say I have no reservation about using this board in a machine I'd build for friends or family. As long as you're aware of what it can and can't do, and don't care about the limitations, I don't think you'd be disappointed.