National Football Foundation

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The National Football Foundation and Fidelity Investments® Highlight the 2017 Faculty Athletics Representative Honorees
The NFF and Fidelity recognize the critical role of faculty in supporting the interests of student-athletes nationwide.
Published: 11/20/2017 11:00:00 AM
(Pictured: Fidelity and the NFF honored Arkansas Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Sharon Hunt, one of last year's honorees, at an event in April 2017. At the event, L-R, were Fidelity Investments Vice President & Account Executive Katie Hickney, 2016 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Brooks Ellis, Dr. Hunt and NFF COO Matthew Sign.)

IRVING, Texas (Nov. 20, 2017)
– The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the names of the 13 faculty athletics representatives who will be honored as part of the 2017 NFF Faculty Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments, honoring the significant contributions of faculty athletics representatives across the nation.

“For many decades, faculty athletics representatives have played a critical role in the overall educational experience of our country’s student-athletes,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are proud to join Fidelity Investments in continuing to highlight their contributions and pivotal support in ensuring that our nation’s student-athletes succeed on and off the field.”

For 2017, the NFF will recognize 13 faculty athletics representatives from the 13 schools with a 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, including (names of the scholar-athletes in parentheses):

·         Arkansas State University, Karen McDaniel (Blaise Taylor, CB, 3.84 GPA)

·         Boise State University, Roger Munger (Mason Hampton, C, 3.97 GPA)

·         Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), Susan Polansky (Sam Benger, RB, 3.67 GPA)

·         Georgia State University, George Pierce (Chandon Sullivan, DB, 3.84 GPA)

·         Jacksonville State University, Maureen Newton (Justin Lea, OL, 3.92 GPA)

·         Northwestern University, Robert Gundlach (Justin Jackson, RB, 3.23 GPA)

·         Oklahoma State University, Stephen Clarke (Brad Lundblade, C, 3.88 GPA)

·         Slippery Rock University (Pa.), Joanne Leight (Marcus Martin, DE, 3.56 GPA)

·         South Dakota State University, Rich Reid (Jake Wieneke, WR, 3.63 GPA)

·         Stephen F. Austin State University, Ken Collier (Marlon Walls, S, 4.00 GPA)

·         University of Miami (Fla.), Marvin Dawkins (Braxton Berrios, WR, 3.96 GPA)

·         University of Nebraska, Josephine Potuto (Chris Weber, LB, 3.96 GPA)

·         University of Virginia, Carolyn Callahan (Micah Kiser, LB, 3.42 GPA)

Fidelity, which is also the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and The William V. Campbell Trophy®, has taken on a leadership role with the Faculty Salutes as a natural extension of its ongoing support of the scholar-athlete ideal and commitment to higher education nationwide. As part of the initiative, each school with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete/Campbell Trophy® finalist receives recognition for their faculty athletics representative, and a $5,000 donation per school ($65,000 total this year) from Fidelity will be made to support the academic support services for student-athletes at the schools.

Launched in 2011 by Fidelity and the NFF, the initiative is an extension of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program that provides postgraduate scholarships for college football’s elite student-athletes. The salutes have recognized 101 FARs since the program’s inception, and Fidelity has made a total of $505,000 (including $65,000 this year) in donations. At the start of the 2014 season, Fidelity became the presenting sponsor of The William V. Campbell Trophy®, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award, which will be presented for the 28th time during the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5 at the New York Hilton Midtown.

“Honoring the faculty athletics representatives from the schools with NFF National Scholar-Athletes sends a powerful message,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “There is no group more committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the NFF National Scholar-Athlete success stories provide a natural vehicle for emphasizing the important contributions of the faculty athletics representatives in ensuring a strong connection between the academic and athletic experiences of our nation’s student-athletes.”

The NFF consulted with the 1A Faculty Athletics Representatives (1A FAR) to design the initiative, and the organizations continue to collaborate on its implementation as an extension of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program, which provides $18,000 postgraduate scholarships to college football’s top student-athletes. In 2015, the 1A FAR presented Fidelity with its “Friend of FAR” Award for its efforts with the program, and the group honored the NFF with the same award in 2016.

“We are pleased to support the National Football Foundation and its programs, which celebrate outstanding football scholar-athletes and the hard work of faculty athletics representatives,” said Brian Shannon, the president of 1A FAR, who is a law professor and the FAR at Texas Tech University. “The National Football Foundation, through the leadership and vision of Steve Hatchell and Matthew Sign, have joined with Fidelity Investments not only to recognize the work of the FARs at an array of campuses each year, but to support academic services on campuses for student-athletes and to award significant postgraduate scholarships to outstanding football student-athletes.

“These programs emphasize that success as a student-athlete is about more than just athletic accomplishments on the field. Participating in college athletics provides the opportunity for a top-flight education at our nation’s finest institutions of higher education and facilitates the development of unparalleled leadership skills.”

About the National Scholar-Athlete Awards
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, were established in 1959 as the first initiative in history to honor scholar-athletes with postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. In 2011, Fidelity Investments became the first official sponsor in the history of the program, which has awarded more than $11.3 million to 841 individuals since its inception. The program currently provides more than $223,000 each year in postgraduate scholarships to the nation’s top scholar-athletes from all levels of collegiate play.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Fame inductees and athletics administrators. The committee traditionally selects 12-14 scholar-athletes from across the country for these prestigious $18,000 scholarships.

Past recipients have used their postgraduate scholarships to set the standard for excellence in our society, earning more than 150 medical degrees, 100 law degrees, 80 MBAs and 45 PhDs. Others have used the financial backing to enhance their successful careers in finance, consulting and engineering. Continuing their excellence on the field, more than recipients have played in the NFL, including Drew Brees, Derrick Brooks, Joey Galloway, Peyton Manning, Lee Roy Selmon and Steve Young. Thirty-five former National Scholar-Athletes have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Past Scholar-Athletes have made it big in a variety of fields, including Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, now the head football coach at his alma mater; UCLA’s Mark Harmon, an actor and film producer; West Virginia’s Oliver Luck, NCAA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs; Richmond’s Leland Melvin and Illinois’s Michael Hopkins, NASA astronauts; and Georgia’s Billy Payne, the former chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club. For more information regarding the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards or the College Football Hall of Fame programs, please visit

About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $6.5 trillion, including managed assets of $2.4 trillion as of September 30, 2017, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 26 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 40,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit

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 Football Matters®, 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, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at

The 1A FAR is an organization of faculty athletics representatives at NCAA Division I institutions in the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division 1A. The mission of the 1A FAR is to advocate for effective interaction and academic and fiscal balance between an institution's academic mission and its intercollegiate program. The purpose of the 1A FAR is to address issues unique to Division 1A institutions, which requires a careful balancing of academic versus athletics interests, of student-athlete welfare versus competitive success and of cost containment versus additional revenue generation. Learn more at

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