Friday, August 18, 2006

Ronnie Lott, NFF Conference Call To Unveil Multi-Million Dollar Fundraising Initiative

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

John Tataro, Alan Taylor Communications
Phone: 212-714-1280, ext. 258

Hillary Jeffries, National Football Foundation
Phone: 800-486-1865, ext. 123

Ronnie Lott, NFF Conference Call To Unveil Multi-Million Dollar Fundraising Initiative



* Play It Smart National Advisory Board Chairman Ronnie Lott (college and pro Hall of Famer)
* National Football Foundation President Steve Hatchell
* National Football Foundation Chairman Ron Johnson
* Play It Smart National Director Charles Gomes

WHAT: Announcement of a new, multi-million dollar fundraising campaign for
Play It Smart, which helps at-risk high school players score touchdowns in the classroom with football coaching staff-embedded "academic" coaches emphasizing schoolwork every day from September through June.

WHERE: Audio conference, contact John Tataro to obtain 800 conference call number at 212-714-1280, ext. 258 or via email at

WHEN: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT/Noon MT/11 a.m. PT

WHY: Lott, chairman of the National Advisory Board for the NFF's highly-
successful Play It Smart program and honorary chairman of the Play It Smart Fundraising Committee, along with Hatchell, Johnson and Gomes, will review the progress of the unprecedented program and release details of the organization's most ambitious-ever campaign.

MORE: Play It Smart was introduced in 1998 and is currently in over 136 high
schools (listed at in 35 states, reaching 12,000 at-risk student-athletes. Play It Smart pays and trains "academic" coaches who become full-fledged members of the high school football coaching staff to work with players during the entire school year, emphasizing the importance of schoolwork and taking the transferable life skills learned on the field and applying them in the classroom and the community.
* 98% of participants graduate from high school;
* 80% of seniors enroll in college;
* Participants complete more than 60,000 hours of community service annually;
* Roster sizes increase by 35% for teams with fewer than 40 players.
* 71 seniors earned spots on Division I-A rosters in 2006 as incoming freshman, bringing the number of participants in the elite collegiate ranks to over 150.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE HALL OF FAME With 119 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. The NFF presents the MacArthur Trophy, the Draddy Trophy and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, the NFF Center for Youth Development Through Sport at Springfield College (Mass.), the NFL-NFF Coaching Academy, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. Learn more at