DALLAS – The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today the names of the 15 faculty athletics representatives who will be honored as part of the 2012 NFF Faculty Salute Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, honoring the significant contributions of faculty athletics representatives across the nation.
"For more than 150 years, 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 with Fidelity to highlight their contributions and pivotal support in ensuring that our nation's student-athletes succeed on and off the field."
For 2012, the NFF will recognize 15 faculty athletics representatives from the 15 schools with a 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, including (with the names of the scholar-athletes in parentheses):
Baylor University, Mike Rogers (Nick Florence, QB, 3.79 GPA)
Duke University, Martha Putallaz (Sean Renfree, QB, 3.40 GPA)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hank Smith (Ethan Peterson, OL, 3.83 GPA)
Northern Illinois University, Matt Streb (Nabal Jefferson, DT, 3.78 GPA)
Northwestern University, Robert Gundlach (Patrick Ward, OT, 3.94 GPA)
Robert Morris University, Scott Branvold (Nolan Nearhoof, DE, 3.73 GPA)
Saint Xavier University (Ill.), Barbara Becker (Shane Zackery, WR, 3.71 GPA)
Syracuse University, Mike Wasylenko (Ryan Nassib, QB, 3.57 GPA)
Texas Tech University, Brian Shannon (Cody Davis, S, 3.70 GPA)
University of Alabama, Kevin Whitaker (Barrett Jones, C, 4.00 GPA)
University of Mount Union (Ohio), Scott Mason (Nick Driskill, S, 3.77 GPA)
University of Nebraska, Josephine Potuto (Rex Burkhead, RB, 3.43 GPA)
University of Notre Dame, Patricia Bellia (Manti Te'o, LB, 3.32 GPA)
University of Southern California, Clare Pastore (Matt Barkley, QB, 3.21 GPA)
West Texas A&M University, David Rausch (Aaron Mullane, OL, 3.84 GPA)
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. Fidelity, which is also the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, has taken on a leadership role with the initiative 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 receives recognition for their faculty athletics representative, and a $5,000 donation per school ($75,000 total) from Fidelity will be made to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.
"Supporting the NFF Faculty Salute Initiative provides Fidelity Investments a meaningful way to support the academic missions of colleges and universities nationwide," said John Ragnoni, executive vice president, Fidelity Tax-Exempt Retirement Services. "The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards showcases an amazing group of individuals, and the NFF Faculty Salute Initiatives highlights the contributions of a critical group of people who work behind the scenes to help them realize their dreams."
"Honoring the faculty athletics representatives from the schools with NFF National Scholar-Athletes makes perfect sense," 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."
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 post-graduate 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 $10.1 million to 771 individuals since its inception. The program currently provides $300,000 each year in post-graduate 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 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 15 to 17 scholar-athletes from across the country for these prestigious $18,000 fellowships.
Notable past NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award recipients include actor Mark Harmon
(UCLA); Hampden-Sydney College President Chris Howard
(Air Force); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin
(Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips
(Yale); Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club Billy Payne
(Georgia); record-setting NFL quarterback Peyton Manning
(Tennessee); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young
(BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker
(Oregon State), Gary Beban
(UCLA), Doug Flutie
(Boston College) and Tim Tebow
(Florida). For more information regarding the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards or the College Football Hall of Fame programs, please visit www.footballfoundation.org