Sept. 27, 2007
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today that eight exceptional individuals are joining its national board of directors. Representing communities nationwide and joining 36 other active members of the prestigious board, the new board members are:
Jerry Jones, Owner, President and General Manager, Dallas Cowboys - Dallas, Texas
Robert Kraft, Founder, Chairman & CEO, The Kraft Group; Owner, New England Patriots - Boston, Mass.
Michael Moe, Founding Partner, Chairman & CEO, ThinkEquity Partners, LLC - San Francisco, Calif.
Kevin Plank, President, CEO & Chairman, Under Armour, Inc. - Baltimore, Md.
Roger Williams, Former Secretary of State, State of Texas - Austin, Texas
Jim Delany, Commissioner, Big Ten Conference - Chicago, Ill.
Mike Slive, Commissioner, Southeastern Conference - Birmingham, Ala.
Deborah Yow, Athletics Director, University of Maryland - College Park, Md.
"It's an honor to welcome these eight individuals to our board," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "If you were to name the top leaders in collegiate athletics and our nation's business communities, this group would be on everybody's short list. Their combined business acumen and knowledge of collegiate athletics will greatly aid in our ability to carry out our mission as we greatly expand our efforts on all fronts."
Founded in 1947 with leadership and support from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and renowned journalist Grantland Rice, the NFF serves as a leading voice in the promotion of amateur football and its ability to develop the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal and the drive for academic achievement in America's young people.
"Adding individuals of this caliber to our national board reinforces our role as a driving force in the promotion of amateur football from border-to-border and coast-to-coast," NFF Chairman Ron Johnson said. "As we celebrate the NFF's 60th anniversary, this widely respected group of individuals will provide precious insight and guidance in our ability to promote the good in the game."
The eight new members increase the total number of people on the board to 44, including Chairman Ron Johnson, Vice Chairman John L. Toner, President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell and Secretary/Treasurer George M. Weiss. They also compliment the four stalwarts recently added in 2006: Archie Griffin, President/CEO, Ohio State University Alumni Association and two-time Heisman Trophy Winner; John Junker, President & CEO, Fiesta Bowl and Executive Director of the Insight Bowl; Bill Martin, Director of Athletics at Michigan and former head of the U.S. Olympic Committee; and Chuck Neinas, President, Neinas Sports Services, and former Executive Director of the College Football Association and Commissioner of the Big Eight Conference.
With the addition of NFL franchise owners Jones and Kraft, the NFF Board now taps the insights of the owners from the three major sports leagues in the country. They join George M. Steinbrenner III, Principal Owner of the New York Yankees, and Clayton I. Bennett, the Chairman and Owner of the Seattle SuperSonics and President of Dorchester Capital.
The NFF programs cover the entire spectrum of amateur football. The College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., one of the nation's premier sports museum, stands as the centerpiece to organization's efforts, showcasing the accomplishments of the 993 legends from all divisions of college football who are immortalized within its walls. The 120 NFF chapters in 47 states reach more than 4,800 high schools and 400,000 football players with more than 315 annual events, including coaching clinics, leadership conferences, college nights, media days, awards banquets, and comprehensive free physicals for high school student-athletes via the TOPS program.
The NFF is a leader in programs encouraging academic performance by student-athletes. Launched in 1959 with funds donated by Coach Blaik, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards program became first initiative in history to credit a player for both academic and athletic accomplishments. Currently, the program annually distributes $320,000 in highly sought-after post-graduate scholarships to the best from the college gridiron, and since its inception the program has awarded $8.3 million. Combined with the more than $800,000 distributed by the NFF chapters, total annual NFF scholarships currently exceed $1.1 million each year. The NFF National Honor Society also recognizes all the college football players from all divisions who maintain a 3.2 GPA or better.
Launched in 1998 and currently in 140 schools in 85 cities, Play It Smart, the NFF's highly successful mentoring program for at-risk kids, has quickly established itself as one of the most comprehensive and effective youth development programs in the country. The program dramatically increases graduation and college enrollment rates while earning more than $6 million a year in scholarships for its participants.
Major Awards presented by the NFF include the MacArthur Trophy, representing the pinnacle in team achievement and claimed by every college football national champion since 1959; the NFF Gold Medal granted for exceptional contributions to our society and claimed by seven U.S. Presidents and numerous other business titans since 1958; the Draddy Trophy (presented by HealthSouth), which is bestowed annually on the nation's top college scholar-athlete since 1990; and numerous other awards designed to promote the good in the game and recognize unique contributions.
The NFF also plays a prominent role as a resource for the media by releasing the weekly Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings; producing the widely acclaimed Monday's Chalktalk, which provides a weekly compendium of college football news; adding historical perspective to the college football season with This Week in College Football History; and providing access to the wit and wisdom of NFF Historian Dan Jenkins, the celebrated sportswriter and best selling novelist.