I was just about to blog about about the South Florida Touchdown Club Foundation recently becoming part of the National Football Foundation Chapter Network, and in connection, let you know about the "Meet the UM Football Freshman" dinner, originally scheduled for a week from today.
But then I learned the "Meet the UM Football Freshman dinner" was just indefinitely postponed, "at the request of the University of Miami,'' said Chris Ball, programs vice president and director of the South Florida Touchdown Club Foundation, in an email.
"With the recent news articles and internal disciplinary actions affecting the U, we agree that it's best to respect their wishes and defer this event," Ball wrote. "...We thank you for your consideration and continued support of the U.''
It's unfortunate programs such as this are being canceled by UM, especially since the UM's freshman dinner has been around for more than 30 years, and it gives fans a chance to meet their players up close and at length. But in light of the NCAA investigation, UM officials are being super careful about public access. Hopefully the dinner will return at some point -- at least before the freshmen are sophomores. But I doubt it for this year.
BankUnited CanesFest is still scheduled for Aug. 18, however, which is always a fun time for fans.
Touchdown Club/NFF Merge
The South Florida Touchdown Club has been a worthwhile, positive, charitable organization since its creation in 1959 (as the Miami Touchdown Club) by local leaders who supported football in Miami-Dade County. It has flourished with its relationships with local and private high schools, UM, FIU, and the Miami Dolphins.
The NFF has 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide and conducts, amid its programs, the College Hall of Fame ceremony.
"The NFF Chapter Network stands as one of the most valuable forces in all of amateur sports,'' said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell, the Orange Bowl Committee's executive director in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in a formerly released written statement. "The passion of our members knows no bounds, and their efforts have a dramatic impact on inspiring leadership and lifting the academic perofrmance of high school football players nationwide. Our partnership with the South Florida Touchdown Club is a natural fit, and we're excigted to extend the reach of our organization to cover a region of the country that clearly values our great game.''
There are 121 local National Football Foundation chapters. The chapters' collective efforts produce a series of awards banquets that distribute more than $1 million in scholarships to approximately 3,300 high school scholar-athletes. From this group, a national committee annually selects the five winners, one from each region of the country, for recognition as an NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete.
The South Florida Touchdown Club Chapter will now begin nominating one candidate for the honor.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN