NFF and Nine State High School Coaches Associations Partner to Establish National High School Academic Excellence Award

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The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame in partnership with state high coaches associations from nine states, with Nebraska and Texas leading the initial effort, announced plans today for the creation of the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Award, the first nationwide recognition honoring individual high school football teams for excellence in the classroom. 

“Academic and athletic success go hand-in-hand, and we are proud to partner with the high school coaches associations on this award” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “By honoring team achievement in the classroom, we hope to provide high school coaches nationwide a powerful new tool for instilling a culture on their teams that recognizes the chance of winning on the field significantly increases when student-athletes also excel in the classroom. We hope by inspiring teams to compete in the classroom with the same competitive spirit that it takes to win on the field we will better prepare high school football players for success later in life.” 

Launching in the fall for the 2021 season, the award currently has nine high school coaches associations from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oregon, Mississippi and Texas partnering with the NFF, and the expectation is for coaches associations from the rest of the country to also participate. The initiative will recognize team winners from each state as well as one overall national winner. 

“We are excited to promote this award to all the high school football teams in the state of Texas,” said Joe Martin, the Executive Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association. “We are also happy to join with other high school coaches’ organizations across the nation in one cohesive collaboration to recognize high school football teams for excellence in the classroom. Academic success is as important as athletic success, as it can take student-athletes to the next step in their lives and on the paths to being successful citizens. This is a team-oriented award that promotes team-building traits, and we are proud to encourage participation in this award to all Texas teams.”


“The Nebraska Coaches Association (NCA) is proud to partner with the National Football Foundation to recognize team distinction in the classroom,” said Darin Boysen, the Executive Director of the NCA. “Football is an integral part of education-based athletics across America. The NCA looks forward to partnering with the NFF to showcase team excellence beyond ‘Friday Night Lights’ through the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Award.” 

The NFF and the nine associations are currently compiling feedback from high school principals, administrators and guidance counselors to streamline and finalize the nomination and selection process. 

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Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.