National Football Foundation

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NFF CHALKTALK – Feb. 25, 2016, Presented by
Latest news & notes from the world of college football.
Published: 2/25/2016 10:45:00 AM

(Pictured: The number of schools offering football continues to grow, with St. Andrews in Laurinburg, N.C., the latest to add a program beginning in 2017. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley could be next, as it has formed a football feasibility study committee chaired by former Texas head coach Mack Brown.)

NFF Showcases Continue to Create Opportunities

Behind the leadership of two of its chapters, the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame recently staged NFF Showcases in Houston and Los Angeles, providing high school seniors a unique opportunity to display their skills in front of football coaches from 110 divisional colleges with academic and participation scholarships on the line.

NFF Chapter Network Set to Distribute More Than $1 Million in Scholarships in 2016

Spanning more than 5,000 high schools and 500,000 student-athletes, the NFF announced that the NFF Chapter Network will distribute more than $1 million in scholarships during its 2016 banquet season, selecting 3,500 student-athletes for recognition as the best and the brightest for their combined achievements on the gridiron, in the classroom and as leaders in the community. Click here for the Chapter Banquets Schedule.

St. Andrews University (N.C.) to Add Football in 2017

St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, N.C., announced plans to add football to its athletic program in the 2017-18 academic year. With the number of colleges and universities now offering football on the rise, St. Andrews recognizes that the addition of football can play an important role in growing enrollment, enhancing extra-curricular programs and creating new opportunities to connect the campus community with the Laurinburg-Scotland County community. St. Andrews is a member of the NAIA, and the new team will compete in the Mid-South Conference.

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Announces Football Feasibility Study Committee

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley announced the formation of a football feasibility study committee that will be chaired by legendary coach Mack Brown.

The university is in the process of developing its founding strategic and master plans, and UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the football feasibility study is a subset of those plans.

The committee, which will consist of special advisors, faculty and staff, student leaders and community members, will work with the consultants chosen to conduct the feasibility study. The committee will then present its final recommendations to Bailey.

One Week Left for 2016 NFF Hampshire Honor Society Nominations

The NFF is now accepting nominations for the 2016 NFF Hampshire Honor Society. Celebrating its 10th year, the Hampshire Honor Society is a great way to recognize colleges’ best scholar-athletes who have shown passion on the football field and in the classroom.

To qualify for membership in the Society, a football student-athlete must have just completed his final year of playing eligibility or has already graduated and officially declared for the NFL Draft; been a starter or significant contributor during the 2015 season; achieved a minimum 3.2 cumulative GPA throughout the entire course of undergraduate study through the fall semester of 2015; and is meeting all NCAA/NAIA-mandated progress towards degree requirements.

Sports information directors have until March 3 to submit nominations. Contact Hillary Jeffries at for more information or to nominate a student-athlete.

NFF to Salute Black History Trailblazers on

As part of a Black History Month tribute, the NFF is profiling a few of the many significant individuals who helped integrate football on, the NFF’s digital platform for storytelling and promoting the good in the game. Last week’s stories focused on College Football Hall of Famer Ernie Davis (Syracuse), the first African-American Heisman Trophy winner, and a foursome of Hall of Famers from Michigan State: Clinton Jones, Bubba Smith, Gene Washington and George Webster.

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:

·         Kale Ane Followed His Father’s Footsteps Back to Coaching in Hawaii

·         Illinois’ Joe Spencer Using His Platform for Good

·         Resilience is the Key to Success for Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger

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.


The Hall is celebrating Leap Year with a special deal for those lucky individuals born on Feb. 29: FREE Admission to the Hall of Fame. Other guests can join in the fun as well with our 2/$29 offer. Both offers are valid on Feb. 29, and guests born on Feb. 29 must show a valid ID at the box office to gain free entry.

21st Century Leaders, a Georgia-based non-profit youth leadership and talent development program, announced the top 20 youth leaders that will be honored at the Eighth annual Georgia Youth Leadership Awards on March 5 at the College Football Hall of Fame.

Celebrated SEC football coach and College Football Hall of Fame player Steve Spurrier (Florida) took part in a special event benefitting Curing Kids Cancer at the Hall to officially kick off his new career as Special Assistant to South Carolina President Harris Pastides and Gamecocks athletics director Ray Tanner. He was joined on a Celebrity Panel by former Georgia and current Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins; the SEC Network’s Tony Barnhart; CBS Sports broadcaster and College Football Hall of Famer Randy Cross (UCLA); and South Carolina deputy athletics director Charles Waddell.


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


NFF Chairman and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Manning (Mississippi) will be the featured speaker for Augusta University (Ga.)’s Alumni Weekend Signature Event on April 30.

NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Fame coach Grant Teaff was named Executive Director Emeritus of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Teaff’s 21 years as executive director of AFCA will conclude at the end of February.

NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Roger Staubach (Navy) and Hall of Fame coach R.C. Slocum were the inaugural recipients of the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame’s Rube Foster Award, which is given to a coach, athlete or supporter who has made a significant impact on sports in Texas by supporting African-American athletes.

College Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State) was recognized as the Doak Walker Legends Award recipient at the Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet on Feb. 19 in Dallas. Lee Corso, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, who received the 2006 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football (OCAF) Award as part of ESPN’s College GameDay, emceed the event. CBS broadcaster and 2011 NFF OCAF Award recipient, Verne Lundquist, presented the 2015 Doak Walker Award to Alabama running back Derrick Henry. College Football Hall of Famers in attendance included Lee Roy Jordan (Alabama) and Billy Sims (Oklahoma).

College Football Hall of Famer Eddie George (Ohio State)’s seven-week stint in the musical Chicago on Broadway runs through Feb. 28.

College Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas (Oklahoma State) will be the honored guest at the Greater Allegany County (N.Y.) Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner on April 1.

College Football Hall of Famer Troy Brown (Marshall) will be inducted into the State of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame on May 16 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

2000 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Josh Whitman (Illinois) was named the Fighting Illini’s director of athletics.

2004 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Jim Leonhard (Wisconsin) was named the Badgers’ defensive backs coach.

2009 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient and SEC Network analyst Tim Tebow (Florida) will be the keynote speaker at the Blue Mountain College (Miss.) Scholarship Gala on April 12.

Three members of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class are among more than 300 prospects who have been invited to compete at the Feb. 23-29 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. UCLA center Jake Brendel, Mississippi State cornerback Taveze Calhoun and Baylor offensive guard Spencer Drango will put their skills to the test in hopes of increasing their stock in the 2016 NFL Draft, which will take place April 28–30.

2009 NFF Gold Medal recipient and Nike co-founder Phil Knight pledged to give Stanford University $400 million to start the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, which is modeled on the Rhodes scholarships. The program will recruit graduate students around the globe to address society’s most intractable problems, including poverty and climate change.

2011 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award recipient Verne Lundquist, CBS Sports’ lead play-by-play announcer for college football, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports at the 37th annual Sports Emmy Awards ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City on May 10.

2015 NFF Chris Schenkel Award recipient and outgoing Voice of the LSU Tigers, Jim Hawthorne, is a recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. He will be among the 2016 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class, which will be honored at the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on June 25 in Natchitoches, La.

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 Charles Barton, a quarterback at Kutztown (Pa.) who graduated in December 2015 with a 3.57 GPA in finance.

Presented by

The NFF Tom Lombardo/St. Louis Chapter held a luncheon on Feb. 24 at Lombardo’s Airport restaurant. ESPN Radio personality Randy Karraker emceed the event, which featured College Football Hall of Famer Johnny Roland (Missouri), former Dayton and NFL center Bob DeMarco, former California football player and St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons head coach Jim Hanifan, former Missouri and Oakland Raiders linebacker Gus Otto and former Iowa State and NFL quarterback Tim Van Galder.

The NFF Miss-Lou Chapter will hold its annual scholarship awards banquet on Feb. 25 in Natchez, Miss., at the Natchez Community Center. Former Mississippi and New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister will be the featured speaker. The chapter will award $10,000 to deserving scholar-athletes from area schools in Natchez, Miss., and Vidalia and Ferriday, La.

The NFF S.M. McNaughton (La.) Chapter will host its Scholar-Athlete Banquet on Feb. 25 at East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport, La.

The NFF King County/Seattle Chapter’s 50th Annual Scholar-Athlete Banquet will take place Feb. 27 at Century Link Field in Seattle.

The NFF Portland (Ore.) Chapter will hold its 55th Annual Scholar-Athlete Banquet on Feb. 28 at Red Lion Hotel on the River Jantzen Beach. Former Central Washington football player Eric Boles will be the featured speaker at the event, which will also see the distribution of $16,000 in scholarships.

The NFF Greater Cincinnati Chapter Scholar-Athlete Banquet is scheduled for March 1 at the Westin Hotel in Cincinnati. Former Syracuse and Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Dave Lapham will be the guest speaker at the event, which will honor 14 high school and four collegiate scholar-athletes.

The NFF Mike Cleary/Northeastern Ohio Chapter will hold its Scholar-Athlete Banquet on March 8 at the LaCentre Banquet Facility in Westlake, Ohio. Recent Kent State graduate April Goss, who made history this past season after becoming just the second female to score a point in an FBS game, will speak on behalf of 12 Postgraduate Award winners. Other notable presenters and speakers at the banquet will include College Football Hall of Fame coach Jim Tressel, former Clemson and Cleveland Browns running back Kevin Mack and Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini.

The NFF Wyoming Chapter will hold its annual banquet in Laramie on March 19. The chapter will present $1,200 scholarships to finalists from each of the state’s five participation classes and two from the University of Wyoming. The finalists will be selected from a field of 101 nominations from 35 high schools and the University of Wyoming. From the group of finalists, one top scholar-athlete will be awarded a second scholarship and be the state’s nominee to represent the West Region as an NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete.

The NFF New York City Chapter will hold its Elite Eleven Dinner Apr. 5 at the New York Athletic Club, honoring the top scholar-athletes in New York City and presenting Jets and former Central Florida wide receiver Brandon Marshall with its Accorsi Award for his work with PROJECT 375, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental illness and disorders.

College Football Hall of Famer Chuck Cecil (Arizona) will be the keynote speaker at the NFF Southern Arizona Chapter’s 19th Annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet on April 17 in Tucson, Ariz.

The NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter will hold its 50th Anniversary “Touchdowner of the Year” Banquet on May 4 at the Westin Galleria Ballroom. NFF Chairman and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Manning (Mississippi) will be the guest of honor. The chapter will host a Hall of Fame Golf Tournament the day before at Wildcat Golf Course.


New Football Schools

Michael Popovich
has been named head football coach at Morthland College (Ill.), which will play its first varsity season this fall…


The MAC unveiled its 2016 football schedule… Purdue and Vanderbilt agreed to a home-and-home series in 2019 and 2029… Georgia State and North Carolina have scheduled a home-and-home series for 2021 and 2022… Georgia State also agreed to a home-and-home series with Vanderbilt in 2024 and 2025… Texas A&M has added Abilene Christian to its 2020 schedule… Baylor and Mississippi have verbally agreed to a 2020 football game in Houston… Alabama will host Arkansas State in 2018…


Wisconsin-La Crosse has named Mike Schmidt as its head football coach… David Harris has been named director of athletics at Northern Iowa… Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) named Justin X. Carroll as its interim director of athletics… Matt Shelton has been named athletics director at Southwestern (Kan.)… Kyndall Waters has been named as Birmingham-Southern (Ala.)’s next athletics director… Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has been rewarded with a revised contract… Iowa athletics director Gary Barta agreed to a five-year contract extension… Idaho athletics director Rob Spear was given a four-year extension… Muskingum (Ohio) athletics director Larry Shank has been appointed to the NCAA Division III Infractions Appeals Committee…

Awards and Honors

Arkansas led the SEC with 40 student-athletes on the SEC Fall Honor Roll… Former football players Devin and Jason McCourty have been elected to the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni… Former football players Tom Forzani, Jim Hough, Dave Manning and Steve C. Mothersell have been elected to Utah State University's Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame…


Boston College announced a $200 million plan for athletics facilities… Houston received approval to move forward with the design of an indoor football facility… New Hampshire unveiled details about the Service Credit Union Victory Club that will be a centerpiece of the soon-to-open Wildcat Stadium… Air Force is upgrading its video display at Falcon Stadium…


Elon’s ninth annual Night of the Phoenix at Alumni Gym raised a record amount of $171,785 for student-athlete scholarships…

Marketing and Uniforms

Under Armour and South Carolina announced a long-term partnership extension through June 2026…

Community Service

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, have donated $100,000 to help build a Habitat for Humanity house in Tuscaloosa, Ala.… Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh donated the $10,000 fee from a recent autograph signing to the ChadTough Foundation, which was founded to raise awareness and find a cure for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma and pediatric cancer. It is named for Chad Carr, the grandson of College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr who died last year at the age of five due to brain cancer…

Other News of Interest

Auburn has planted new oak trees to reinstitute the tradition of rolling Toomer's Corner for 2016… Experts gathered at the Safety in College Football Summit agreed to suggested revisions to football practice and concussion management guidelines… Former Rice running back Sam McGuffie was a member of one of two entries who represented the United States in the four-person bobsled event at the 2016 BMW IBSF World Championships in Igls, Austria…


Former Ohio Wesleyan football player Erik McWilliams passed away Jan. 9. He was 57… Former Bethany (Kan.) football player Cory McManus died Feb. 12… Former Syracuse linebacker Parker Cantey died Feb. 16. He was 28… Former Southern Mississippi quarterback and longtime Major League Baseball player Jim Davenport passed away Feb. 18. He was 82… Former Texas football player William Milburn passed away Feb. 18. He was 86… Don McClanen, who founded the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 1954, has passed away at the age of 91… Phil Skaggs, who covered New Mexico State football as a former sports editor and writer for the Las Cruces Sun-News, passed away Feb. 23. He was 58… Former Colorado defensive back Mike C. McCoy passed away. He was 62… Scott Miller, the radio play-by-play voice of North Dakota State football since 1996, passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 57…


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.


Sept. 28, 2016 – Announcement of the semifinalists for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently displayed at the NYAC – Irving, Texas

Dec. 5, 2016
– Announcement and Presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup to the Ivy League Football Players of the Year at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel at an event presented by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses – New  York City

Dec. 6, 2016
– NFF Annual Awards Press Conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 6, 2016
– NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 6, 2016
– 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria – New York City

Dec. 6, 2016
– 27th presentation of the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently displayed at the NYAC, to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 6, 2016
– Induction of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 31, 2016
– The 12th Annual NFF National Hall of Fame Salute during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Atlanta

Jan. 5, 2017
– NFF Leadership Hall of Fame Dinner – Tampa, Fla.

Jan. 6, 2017
– Announcement of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class – Tampa, Fla.

Jan. 9, 2017
 - College Football Playoff National Championship at Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Fla.


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

NFF Chalktalk items are welcome, and should be submitted to

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