National Football Foundation

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NFF CHALKTALK – Dec. 17, 2015, Presented by
Latest news & notes from the world of college football.
Published: 12/17/2015 5:07:00 PM

(Pictured: The NFF concluded its 58th Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, which culminated with the induction of the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class. The class included Front Row, L-R: Coach Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma), Lincoln Kennedy (Washington), Ricky Williams (Texas), Bob Breunig (Arizona State), Michael Payton (Marshall), Coach Jim Tressel (Youngstown State, Ohio State). Back Row, L-R: Sean Brewer (Millsaps [Miss.]), Wes Chandler (Florida), Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame), Trev Alberts (Nebraska), Art Still (Kentucky), Clinton Jones (Michigan State), Zach Thomas (Texas Tech) and Tracy Lytle (representing her late husband Rob Lytle from Michigan). Not pictured: Ruben Brown (Pittsburgh) and Dick Jauron (Yale).)

NFF Concludes Star-Studded 58th Annual Awards Dinner

The historic Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom in New York City witnessed an all-star cast of history’s greatest football players for the 58th National Football Foundation (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8. An illustrious College Football Hall of Fame class took center stage at the event, and 12 of the game’s current-leading student-athletes collected $223,000 in postgraduate scholarships. The festivities culminated with the induction of the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class and a response from inductee Coach Bill Snyder. The Dinner also featured the announcement of Oklahoma’s Ty Darlington as the recipient of the 26th William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments, as the top football scholar-athlete in the nation.

Click here for a complete recap of the Dinner, including memorable quotes from Gold Medal recipient Dr. Condoleezza Rice, 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Coach Bill Snyder and Darlington. Click here for transcripts from the morning press conference featuring the Hall of Fame Class, and click here for transcripts of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class.

Click here for a replay of the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner and click here for a replay of the NFF Annual Awards Press Conference, both of which streamed live on ESPN3. A replay of the NFF Red Carpet Show, which was produced by and aired on the American Sports Network, can be seen here.

Oklahoma Center Ty Darlington Claims NFF's 26th William V. Campbell Trophy, Presented by Fidelity Investments

University of Oklahoma center Ty Darlington has been named the 26th recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently displayed at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club, at the 58th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York City.

The Campbell Trophy is one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The award comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship. A total of $223,000 was awarded tonight to Darlington and the 11 other members of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments, who comprised the list of Campbell Trophy finalists. Each member of the class claimed an $18,000 scholarship for their postgraduate educations.

Darlington boasts an impressive academic resume as a two-time First-Team Academic All-American and two-time First Team Academic All-District selection. Darlington maintained a 3.91 GPA while earning a bachelor’s degree in arts & sciences in just 2.5 years. He graduated in December 2014 and is already working toward a master’s degree in higher education. The Apopka, Fla., native has played a key role in Oklahoma’s offense, leading the Sooners to the 2015 Big 12 Conference title. The team will play Clemson in the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31 in the College Football Playoff Semifinals after posting an 11-1 record in the regular season. The recipient of the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy, Darlington has served as president of the Big 12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Following the Annual Awards Dinner, Darlington received several additional honors. On Dec. 9, the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) hosted a luncheon in his honor at the organization’s Hall of Fame Room. From there, he went directly to Atlanta for the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show at the College Football Hall of Fame, where he was interviewed live during the show. Finally, he will be honored on-field during the College Football Playoff National Championship in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 11.

Athletics Directors Molded on the Gridiron

The NFF continues with its campaign showcasing all of the nation’s athletics directors who have played football and how their experiences helped prepare them for leadership roles on our nation’s college campuses. The campaign captures the unique stories of each athletics director, and the stories are appearing throughout the season on Recent profiles include Syracuse athletics director Mark Coyle, who played at Drake, and Texas A&M athletics director Eric Hyman, who was an all-conference defensive tackle at North Carolina. Check out all of the athletics director profiles on

This Week on

The NFF continues to promote, the organization’s newest addition to its campaign to highlight the good in the game and the lifelong benefits to those who play it. Recent headlines on the site include:

·         Waylon Roberson’s Push Towards His Division I Dream

·         Kam Buckner Uses Football, Athletics to Connect With Chicago Communities

·         Former Quarterback Tim Hiller Delivers a Touchdown With His Debut Book ‘Strive’

·         Iowa State DE Meyers Battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma With Strong Will

Click here to sign up to receive the eNewsletter from The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.

Officiating in the Bowl Games

Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

Now that the matchups for the bowl games have been set, the teams and the fans are beginning to make preparations for these exciting events. This is also true for the officials. Each of the FBS conferences has been designated to officiate at least three of the 41 games: 40 bowls plus the College Football Playoff National Championship.

For purposes of making officiating assignments, the bowls are classified into three sets, depending on the conferences of the teams. Each game has one of the following matchups: (1) Power Five vs. Power Five; (2) Power Five vs. Group of Five; (3) Group of Five vs. Group of Five. Every game in the first set will be officiated by officials from one of the Power Five conferences, and every game in the third set will be officiated by a crew from one of the Group of Five conferences. Because the second set crosses the two groups of conferences, officials for those games can come from either a Power Five or a Group of Five conference. As always, all the games will be run by a “neutral crew”—that is, a crew from a different conference than those of the two competing teams.

The national coordinator of football officials is responsible for determining which conference will provide the officials for each of the games. Once that decision is made, the coordinators in the conferences recommend crews to the national coordinator. Each is an “all-star” crew, typically not one that has been together all season.  

As one might expect, the conference coordinators are careful to recommend the league’s top officials. They consider several factors: their ranking within their conference based on an annual evaluation, the number of high-profile games they have officiated, any previous bowl-game experience, games officiated involving nationally ranked teams, and the overall body of work across their college officiating career.

Being chosen to work a bowl game is a great honor, one that every official strives for. The bowl organizations do a great job of hosting the officials and their families, in recognition of the successful year the officials have had and to affirm the key role they play in these exciting postseason games.

Harvard's Hosch, Penn's Drake Named 2015 Bushnell Cup Recipients

Harvard senior quarterback Scott Hosch and Penn senior linebacker Tyler Drake were unveiled as the Ivy League’s 2015 Football Players of the Year and Asa S. Bushnell Cup recipients in front of a capacity crowd at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City on Dec. 7. Hosch was named Offensive Player of Year and Drake was tabbed Defensive Player of the Year before a live audience on The Ivy League Digital Network at a special press conference and reception co-hosted by the NFF and presented by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.


Come celebrate the holidays at the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience with your family and friends. Starting this week, the attraction will be decked out with holiday décor, yummy treats and special giveaways and even appearances by our very own Fumbles Claus. It’s holiday fun for the entire family, Hall of Fame style. Guests who bring cold weather items to our box office will receive $2 off admission. All items will be donated to City of Refuge.

The Hall of Fame hosted The Home Depot 25th Anniversary College Football Awards on Dec. 10. Alabama’s Derrick Henry and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson each claimed top honors and 2015 Campbell Trophy winner Ty Darlington (Oklahoma) was interviewed during the ceremony. The show was hosted by ESPN analyst Chris Fowler, and he was joined by Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Hall of Famer Desmond Howard (Michigan), Tom Rinaldi and Sam Ponder. Coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers was also in attendance to accept the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award while Hall of Fame Coach Barry Switzer (Oklahoma) was honored with the . View a complete list of winners at

The Hall of Fame will be closed on Christmas Day.


The College Football Hall of Fame opened its doors Aug. 23, 2014, in the heart of Atlanta’s sports, entertainment and tourism district. Adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park, the new Hall provides visitors with a highly immersive, interactive and engaging experience using a blend of historic college football artifacts and state-of-the-art, interactive multimedia exhibits. To plan your visit and purchase tickets, visit


The NFL, Under Armour, GE and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the five winners of Head Health Challenge III, an open innovation competition to support the discovery, design and development of advanced materials that better absorb or dissipate impact. The NFL, Under Armour and GE are led by NFF Board Members Roger Goodell, Kevin Plank and Jeff Immelt, respectively.

NFF Board Member James A. Haslam II’s company, Pilot Flying J, is donating $10 million over the next three years to provide athletic and academic support to the 13 public high schools in Knox County, Tenn., including synthetic turf at each school for a football field.

College Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State) was selected as the 2015 PwC Doak Walker Legends Award recipient.

College Football Hall of Fame coach Eddie Robinson (Grambling State) has been named the American Football Coaches Association’s recipient of the 2015 Trailblazer Award.

Past NFF National Scholar-Athletes Eric Decker (Minnesota), Eli Manning (Mississippi) and Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M) were nominated for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field.

1968 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Mike Perrin has been named men’s athletics director at Texas. He has served in an interim role since September.

2015 NFF Gold Medal recipient Dr. Condoleezza Rice has been named the 2016 recipient of the NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award, which honors an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for college sports.

2015 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Josh Rosen, now the starting quarterback at UCLA, was named a Freshman All-American by Sporting News and USA Today.

2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Updates

Six members of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class have earned Academic All-America honors in 2015. Jacoby Boren (Ohio State), Derek Crittenden (Montana), Campbell Trophy winner Ty Darlington (Oklahoma), Spencer Drango (Baylor) and Jordan Italiano (Kent State) all received first team recognition while E.K. Binns (Navy) was selected to the second team.

2015 Campbell Trophy winner and Oklahoma center Ty Darlington was named the Big 12 football Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was a first team all-conference selection.

Navy offensive guard E.K. Binns was a First Team All-American Athletic Conference selection. Binns helped the Midshipmen top Army 21-17 for their 14th straight win in the storied rivalry. Navy finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and will play Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28 at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Ohio State center Jacoby Boren was selected to the Academic All-Big Ten team for the third time in his career and was named to the All-Big Ten Third Team. The 11-1 Buckeyes will meet 10-2 Notre Dame in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.

UCLA center Jake Brendel was named a Second Team All-Pac-12 selection. The 8-4 Bruins will play Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 26 at 9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Mississippi State defensive back Taveze Calhoun was named to the 2015 SEC Community Service Team. The 8-4 Bulldogs will make a school-record sixth consecutive bowl appearance as they face North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Nevada and linebacker Jordan Dobrich will play Colorado State in the inaugural NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast digitally on Campus Insiders and carried on television on the American Sports Network.

Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango was named a unanimous First Team All-American, and he was selected as the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year for the second straight season. The Bears finished the regular season at 9-3 and will play against North Carolina in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel was named an Academic All-MAC selection for the second time in his career.

Kent State safety Jordan Italiano was named an Academic All-MAC selection for the third time in his career.

Linebacker Hank Spencer led the team with 10 tackles as top-ranked Mount Union (Ohio) defeated familiar playoff foe Wisconsin-Whitewater in an NCAA Division III national semifinal. The Purple Raiders will play for a record 12th national title against St. Thomas (Minn.) in the NCAA Division III National Championship Game – the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl – on Friday, Dec. 18 at Salem Stadium in Salem, Va. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. It is the Purple Raiders’ 11th straight appearance in the Stagg Bowl and 19th overall since 1993.

Ferris State (Mich.) quarterback Jason Vander Laan was named an AFCA Division II First Team All-American and the Division II Academic All-American of the Year. He is among eight finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year, which will be announced on Friday.

NFF Program Updates

The NFF Scholar-Athlete of the Day, presented by Fidelity Investments, is a daily segment honoring the semifinalists for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments. Today’s honoree is Robert Kugler, a center at Purdue who graduated in May 2015 with a 3.85 GPA in political science/history.

“This Week in College Football History,” which takes a look back at some of college football’s landmark moments over the last 147 years, is posted each Friday on the NFF website. Click here to check out the games for Dec. 14-20.

Each week during the season, the NFF produces a comprehensive television schedule for all Division I games complete with date, time, teams and on-air talent listings. Email to receive the listing via email or visit

Presented by

St. Ambrose (Iowa) senior kicker Matt Cotiguala was named the recipient of the 2015 Fred Mitchell Award and will be honored on Feb. 15 at the NFF Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony at Halas Hall.


New Football Schools

According to East Tennessee State records, the football program brought in better attendance numbers and more money from ticket sales this past season than it did during its last season back in 2003…

College Football Playoff and Bowl Games

Fans can start making plans to be a part of the 2016 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship in Glendale, Ariz., which will take place Jan. 11, through Playoff Premium’s variety of packages at various price ranges and seating locations. Click here for more information… Click here for the complete 2015-16 College Football Playoff and bowl schedule… The 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl between Michigan and Florida is officially a sellout…


The Pac-12 Conference announced its 2016 football schedule… Connecticut will play Boston College in 2016-17 and 2022-23 and UMass in four-straight years from 2018-21… UMass will also play Boston College in 2021 and 2022… The Big 12 announced it will require its football programs to annually play at least one non-conference game against an autonomy conference institution (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, plus Notre Dame)… Wake Forest announced its 2016 non-conference schedule… Ohio announced its future non-conference schedule, which includes the addition of 15 games… The Big South Conference announced its 2016 football conference schedule…


The 116th Army-Navy Game pulled in its highest rating in 19 years with a 5.1 overnight rating on CBS. The 5.1 rating was also tied as the ninth-highest for any college football game this year. CBS featured the 2015 NFF Distinguished American Award recipients in a segment during the game… ESPN-rated networks (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS) averaged 1,852,000 viewers for the 270 games televised in the 2015 college football regular season, a rise of 4 percent in viewership compared to 2014 regular season… Combined, college football games featuring the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Conference USA on FOX and FOX Sports 1 posted an average viewership increase of 12 percent this season over 2014… ESPN Radio will showcase 29 postseason college bowls, including the College Football Playoff…


Kirby Smart
will be the new head coach at Georgia… Mark Richt was named the head coach at Miami (Fla.)… South Carolina hired Will Muschamp as head coach… Bronco Mendenhall is the new head coach at Virginia… Barry Odom was named Missouri’s head coach… DJ Durkin was named head football coach at Maryland… Rutgers announced that Chris Ash has been named head coach… Mike Norvell has been named the head football coach at Memphis… Dino Babers was announced as Syracuse’s next head football coach… East Carolina announced Scottie Montgomery as its new head coach… Matt Viator has been named head coach at Louisiana-Monroe… Mike Jinks was introduced as Bowling Green’s new head coach… Tulane tabbed Willie Fritz as its head coach… North Texas has named Seth Littrell as its head football coach… Jason Candle was named head football coach at Toledo… Jeff Choate was named head coach at Montana State… Jackson State named Tony Hughes as its new head coach…

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones was rewarded with a raise… California and head coach Sonny Dykes have agreed to a contract extension through 2019… Pittsburgh head football coach Pat Narduzzi has agreed to a contract extension through 2021… Temple head coach Matt Rhule has agreed to a new six-year contract through 2021… North Carolina and head football coach Larry Fedora have agreed in principle to a new seven-year contract… Head football coach Mike Emendorfer will serve as the interim athletics director at Wisconsin-Platteville… Wheeler Brown was named Jackson State’s full-time director of athletics… Indiana University of Pennsylvania appointed Steve Roach as its director of athletics… Northern Iowa named Jean Berger as interim director of athletics…

Awards and Honors

Alabama running back Derrick Henry was selected as the 81st winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy… Click here for a list of winners of college football’s major awards in 2015… The Football Writers Association of America unveiled its 2015 All-America team… AP announced its 2015 All-America team… The Walter Camp Football Foundation unveiled its 2015 All-America team… Sporting News announced its 2015 All-America team… The STATS FCS All-America team was released… AFCA unveiled its FBS, Division II, Division III and NAIA All-America teams… Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz was named the 59th recipient of the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award… Duke and Vanderbilt will share the American Football Coaches Association’s 2015 Academic Achievement Award… Northern Illinois Athletics has been named the recipient of the 2016 NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association Award for Diversity and Inclusion…


Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds recorded his 85th career rushing touchdown, breaking the all-time Division I record. He already owned the FBS record… The 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl is sold out


FedEx and an anonymous donor each donated $2.5 million, for a total of $5 million, to Mississippi to enhance the existing FedEx Student-Athlete Success Center…


South Carolina’s Board of Trustees has approved Phase 1 on the construction of a new Football Operations Facility… Southern Miss announced a $1.6 million upgrade of its football locker room and strength & conditioning facilities… Texas Tech’s Board of Regents approved two projects for athletics, including a new sports performance center… Kentucky will be creating a new Sports Science Research Institute as a part of a $600,000 renovation of the current football practice facilities…


The uniforms were unveiled for the four teams selected for the College Football Playoff semifinals…


USAA announced that it will remain the presenting sponsor of the Army-Navy football game through at least 2025…


Former Wagner football player and noted actor Robert Loggia passed away Dec. 4. He was 85… Former Miami (Fla.) football player Alexander “Whitey” Campbell passed away Nov. 3. He was 89… Former Navy Football Player and War Hero Ronald E. “Mugs” McKeown passed away Nov. 20. He was 76… Former Michigan football player Robert Cooper passed away Nov. 30. He was 99… Former North Carolina State football star Willie Burden passed away Dec. 4. He was 64… Former Rutgers All-American Bill Austin passed away. He was 78… Arkansas at Monticello football player Idong Okon died Dec. 6. He was 21… Former Kansas State football player Mack Herron passed away Dec. 6. He was 67… Longtime Texas A&M field manager Leo Goertz passed away Dec. 7. He was 55… Former Tennessee football player Robert Glascott passed away Dec. 7. He was 81… Former Georgia Tech football player Jesse Tarplin died Dec. 12. He was 38…


Each year, the National Football Foundation invites universities, colleges, conferences and bowl games from across the country to provide support for the NFF programs through its Institutional Academic Membership Program. The program allows the NFF to greatly enhance the power of football's collective voice while actively building a stronger national platform for the game with community leaders, educators and the media. The program is open to all football-playing institutions and conferences at every level of college football and all bowl games, and it reached new levels of support last year. Email Ron Dilatush at to learn about the benefits and how your institution can become a member in 2015. Click here for the 2015 Institutional Academic Members.

Launched in 2008, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association provides a powerful vehicle for past honorees to remain in the vanguard of the NFF’s present efforts. For more information on the program or to enroll for 2015, please email Ron Dilatush at Click here for more information and to see the members of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association.

The NFF relies, in part, on the support of individuals to fulfill our mission of Building Leaders Through Football. The NFF accepts gifts in a variety of forms. In addition to one-time cash gifts, which can be put to use immediately, pledges also allow donors to make more substantial commitments over a longer period of time in support of our programs. Stock and other property which can be easily liquidated are also options when considering a gift. By making a gift of appreciated stock or property, one may reduce or avoid capital gains. Gifts to the National Football Foundation are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Join us! For more information about how you can support the NFF, call 972-556-1000 or click here.


Dec. 31, 2015 – The 11th Annual NFF National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Atlanta

Jan. 7, 2015
– Leadership Hall of Fame Induction Dinner – Phoenix

Jan. 8, 2016
– Announcement of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class – Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jan. 11, 2016
–College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Ariz.


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The NFF would like to thank NFF correspondent Bo Carter for his contributions to this report.

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