College Football Hall of Fame Annual Awards Dinner is headed to Las Vegas

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National Football Foundation's President and CEO Steve Hatchell and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Steve Hill speaking at Monday's press conference. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain

The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced Monday, at UNLV’s Fertitta Football Complex, its moving the highly-anticipated star-studded annual College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and dinner to Las Vegas on Dec. 7 at the ARIA Resort & Casino. 

Numerous dinners and events will take place between Dec. 6-8 including the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Dinner, the Chapter Leadership Award Winners Dinner, and the 32nd William V. Campbell Trophy will be awarded to college football’s top scholar-athlete. 

UNLV’s own Charles Williams was announced as a semi-finalist for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy. The Trophy has become the most prestigious and desirable “academic” award in college football. Candidates must have a grade point average of 3.2, have outstanding football ability, and demonstrate strong leadership on and off the field.

NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell partnered with LVCVA’s (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) President and CEO Steve Hill to be this year’s presenting sponsor as this is the first time in the history of the Annual Awards dinner that it will be held in another state.

The prodigious event was started in New York and has notably taken place in the New York Hilton Midtown hotel’s grand ballroom, when the hotel went under construction this past year, Hatchell explained their plans to move the event west. 

“It is really an honor for Las Vegas to be a part of this spectacular event,” Hill spoke at a press conference Monday. “To be chosen after such a history and a great city [New York]… to be that place [Las Vegas].”

Hatchell added that the foundation is very excited to have the event in a new city adding they are anticipating a record number of returning hall of famers to the event in Vegas as many of them are residents to the area.  

While the event is being held here in Las Vegas this year, there are no plans for it to be hosted here next year or in the future as Hatchell stated they are taking the event “year by year.”

Both 2020 and 2021 College Football Hall of Fame classes will be featured in the 63rd NFF Awards dinner emceed by ESPN’s Rece Davis. Davis has emceed the event six times, he will make his return this year in Las Vegas after a 6-year break from hosting the event. 

Selection Process & Hall of Fame Classes

Every year, over 1,500 college players are picked as candidates, nominated by their university, to be inducted into the College Football HOF. The candidates go through nine screenings, ultimately narrowing it down to just a handful of former college student-athletes and two coaches.

To be eligible for nomination, it must be 10 years past a player’s final year of intercollegiate football played and the player must have received First Team All-American by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA.

As far as coaches go, a coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement if he is at least 70 years of age. Requirements for nomination for a head coach include a minimum of 10 years of coaching and having coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.

While many past inductees in the College Football HOF went on to play in the NFL, this award only looks at the career and academic achievement the player had in college. 

Out of the nearly 81,000 college players currently playing, only .6% will be drafted or be signed as an undrafted free agent. This award ceremony gives past players the chance to be honored in the College Football world whether or not they had moved onto that next level.

“The NFF’s mission is a very big one, we are here to preserve the past…We are here to protect the game of football, that’s our whole mission,” Hatchell said. “We are here to protect it and make sure that it’s got a great future.”

For more information about the 63rd Annual Awards Dinner, scholarship awards, and each of the Hall of Fame Classes at this year’s one of a kind event, visit nff2021.com.

2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class

Players

Lomas Brown (Florida)

Keith Byars (Ohio State)

Eric Crouch (Nebraska)

Eric Dickerson (Southern Methodist) 

Glenn Dorsey (LSU)

John “Jumbo” Elliott (Michigan)

Jason Hanson (Washington State)

E.J. Henderson (Maryland)

E.J. Junior (Alabama)

Steve McNair (Alcorn State), 

Cade McNown (UCLA)

Leslie O’Neal (Oklahoma State)

Anthony Poindexter (Virginia)

David Pollack (Georgia)

Bob Stein (Minnesota)

Michael Westbrook (Colorado) 

Elmo Wright (Houston)

Coaches 

Dick Sheridan (Furman, North Carolina State) 

Andy Talley (St. Lawrence [NY], Villanova)

2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class 

Players

Harris Barton (North Carolina)

David Fulcher (Arizona State)

Dan Morgan (Miami [FL])

Carson Palmer (Southern California)

Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois)

Kenneth Sims (Texas)

C.J. Spiller (Clemson)

Darren Sproles (Kansas State)

Aaron Taylor (Notre Dame)

Andre Tippett (Iowa)

Al Wilson (Tennessee) 

Coaches

Rudy Hubbard (Florida, A&M) 

Bob Stoops (Oklahoma)

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