National Football Foundation

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NFF Events Link Insights From the Past with the Opportunities of the Future
Black History Event captures insights of game’s legends while High School Showcase opens doors for the next generation.
Published: 2/27/2017 4:20:00 PM

IRVING, Texas (Feb. 27, 2017) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame helped stage two powerful events last week that captured the essence of the organization’s mission to preserve the past while also promoting the future of the game.

The Inaugural Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase, staged Feb. 25 at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., provided 378 academically eligible high school seniors a free opportunity to claim divisional scholarships from 43 different colleges. Earlier in the week on Feb. 22, the NFF staged a Black History panel at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, featuring insights from several inductees who helped pioneer the integration of college football.

“We are extremely proud of both of these events, and we want to thank everybody who played a role in making them happen,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are constantly trying to find new ways to highlight the benefits of the game, and these events clearly accomplish that. The Showcases have created a new path for the younger generation to attend college while the Black History panel shines a light on the contributions of the pioneers who helped break down racial barriers in our country. There is symmetry to the events, and we look forward to building on their impact next year.”

The Inaugural Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase was made possible by the Orange Bowl Committee and its newly installed president Don Slesnick, immediate past president, Judge Michael B. Chavies, CEO Eric Poms, and NFF Board Member and Orange Bowl past president Bob Epling. It is one of four NFF High School Showcases taking place between Feb. 11 and March 4 with organizers estimating that participants will collectively receive between $8-10 million in academic and participation scholarships for their freshman year. Click here to read more about the NFF Showcases, and click here to read the Miami Herald’s coverage of the event this past weekend.

The inaugural Black History panel featured Hall of Fame inductees, who all played during the integration of college football: Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame); Gene Washington (Michigan State); and John Wooten (Colorado). Don McPherson, one of five African-American College Football Hall of Fame inductees from Syracuse, emceed the 90-minute discussion. The discussion, part of the “Breaking Barriers: A Salute to Black History in College Football, Delivered by UPS” celebration at the Hall, took place in the Game Day Theater on the second floor of the Hall with more than 200 people in attendance and more than 18,000 watching on Facebook Live. Click here to watch a replay.

VIPs in attendance at the Black History event included College Football Hall of Fame & Chick-fil-A Fan Experience CEO Dennis Adamovich, Atlanta City Council member Keisha Bottoms, Regional Development Director in Atlanta for the United Negro College Fund Justine Boyd, Hall of Fame inductee Jim Brown’s daughter Kim, Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee COO Brett Daniels, Celebration Bowl Executive Director John Grant, NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO William Pate (who also serves on the Hall’s board), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) commissioner Dennis Thomas, Morehouse College President Dr. John Wilson, and Coca-Cola Company Director of Sports Entertainment and Community Marketing Allyson Young.

About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Hofmann Brands, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at

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