2009 Batty, Birns, Buck and Norris named to the NFF Hampshire Honor Society

2009 Batty, Birns, Buck and Norris named to the NFF Hampshire Honor Society

NFF Announces 2009 Hampshire Honor Society Membership

Courtesy of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame

DALLAS - The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the members of the 2009 NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a 3.2 GPA or better. A total of 564 players from 266 schools qualified for membership in the society's third year, a 27 percent increase from the 2008 class. In its inaugural year in 2007, the Hampshire Honor Society honored over 300 students from 195 schools.

"I continue to take great pride in being part of this initiative," said Florida State President and NFF Hampshire Honor Society National Advisory Committee Chairman Dr. T.K. Wetherell. "We continue to see strong membership growth in the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, and I encourage coaches at all levels to tap the competitive spirit of their teams and promote membership and academic performance as a point pride among their players."

The NFF Hampshire Honor Society capitalizes on the NFF's current National Scholar-Athlete program, greatly expanding the number of scholar-athletes the NFF can recognize each year and further strengthening the organization's leadership role in encouraging academic performance by the student- athletes who play football at the more than 700 college and universities with football programs nationwide. Jon F. Hanson, the chairman and founder of The Hampshire Companies, provided an endowment to launch the NFF Hampshire Honor Society in 2007. He made the contribution as part of his legacy to the organization after serving as NFF chairman from 1994-2006.

"Thanks to the leadership of Jon Hanson, T.K. Wetherell and those that serve on the Hampshire Honor Society's advisory committee, the National Football Foundation has been able to extend its reach as a pioneer in the promotion of the scholar-athlete ideal with this empowering academic initiative," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We strongly believe that football is unique in its ability to foster academic achievement in our young people, and this year's class contains countless examples of our nation's brightest young leaders."

The four senior Eph honorees for 2009 include DB Tim Batty (Chenango Bridge, NY), DE Charlie Birns (Scarsdale, NY), WR Stew Buck (Amherst, MA) and TE Austin Norris (Palos Verdes Estates, CA).

Qualifications for membership in the inaugural NFF National Honor Society include:

# Being a starter or a significant substitute in one's last year of eligibility at an accredited NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, or an NAIA college or university;
# Achieving a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout entire course of undergraduate study; and
# Meeting all NCAA-mandated progress towards degree requirements.

The National Honor Society becomes the latest component of the organization's efforts to promote combined athletic and academic success. Launched in 1959 with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik, the NFF's National Scholar-Athlete Awards program became the first initiative in history to credit a player for his combined academic success, football performance and community leadership.

"There is no question that the lessons learned on the field translate directly into success later in life," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, "And the members of the NFF Hampshire Honor Society serve as the perfect example of football's ability to teach leadership skills. We are proud to showcase the accomplishments of this group as part of the NFF's mission in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal."

Since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $8.9 million to 708 top scholars and community leaders. Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 15 individuals. Each winner of a National Scholar-Athlete Award receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. Additionally, the Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, is given to one member of each year's class as the absolute best. The winner of the Draddy, claimed by Cal center Alex Mack in 2008, receives a total scholarship of $25,000 and a stunning 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy. Through, its chapter network, the NFF awards an additional $800,000 to local high school student- athletes, bringing the NFF's annual scholarship total to more than $1.1 million.