Undergrad degrees plentiful in college football

The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame released a list of 1,161 student-athletes, including four from Grambling State, who have already earned their undergraduate degrees and will be playing college football this fall while pursuing second diplomas.

Linwood Banks, Devante Davis, Kalif Jackson and Johnkil Skipper were among the 1,161 student-athletes from Grambling State that will suit up to play collegiate football this fall.

“The National Football Foundation takes great pride in its role as a leading voice in the promotion of the scholar-athlete,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. 

“And highlighting the more than 1,100 student-athletes who have not only earned their undergraduate degrees but are now pursuing additional diplomas sends a powerful message about the doors that college football opens. This list allows us to showcase those individuals who have truly taken full advantage of the opportunities created by college football.”

The NFF compiled the list with the help of athletics directors, faculty athletics representatives and sports information directors from all divisions who identified the players on their 2018 fall rosters who have already earned their undergraduate degrees. 

A total of 221 schools responded, creating the list of 1,161 student-athletes who are slated to play this year while pursuing additional diplomas.

The numbers include 837 players from 125 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), 203 players from 57 schools in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), 102 players from 26 schools in Division II, nine players from nine schools in Division III and 10 players from four schools in the NAIA.

“As an academic who cares about student-athlete success both on the field and in the classroom, it is tremendously exciting to know that there are more than 1,100 student-athletes who will be playing college football this fall who have already earned their undergraduate degrees,” said Brian Shannon, president of 1A FAR who is a law professor and the faculty athletics representative (FAR) at Texas Tech University. 

“1A FAR, which is an organization of the FARs at all 129 FBS colleges and universities, is proud to join with the National Football Foundation in saluting these young men who have already achieved a major milestone in their lives and have chosen to continue their education while playing their sport.”

Publishing a list of the graduates playing college football represents the latest addition to the NFF’s list of initiatives designed to promote the scholar-athlete ideal, dating back to 1959 and the launch of the highly prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. 

The NFF has distributed more than $31 million in scholarships, including $11.3 million to 841 individuals via the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and another $21 million through its nationwide Chapter Network.

Other key components of the NFF efforts to promote the scholar-athlete ideal include The William V. Campbell Trophy®, the NFF Campbell Trophy® Summit, the NFF Faculty Salutes presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards and the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association.

“Today’s release allows us to recognize a truly exceptional group of college football players,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “And it expands our efforts to highlight the integral role that college football has played in the education of millions of student-athletes over the years. 

“It is often said that college is not about the four years on campus but the next 40 years of your career. Clearly those on this list have made the most of their college experiences, and we are extremely pleased to shine a light on their accomplishments.”