College Football Hall of Fame
|College Football Hall of Fame|
The Temporary Logo for the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
|Location||In transition from South Bend, Indiana to Atlanta, Georgia|
|Type||College sports hall of fame|
|Director||John W. Stephenson, Jr.|
|Curator||Kent Stephens (South Bend, Ind.)|
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2014, the new College Football Hall of Fame will be a 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) attraction located in the heart of Atlanta’s sports, entertainment, and tourism district. Adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park, the new Hall will provide visitors with a highly-immersive, interactive, and engaging experience using a blend of historic college football artifacts and state-of-the-art, interactive multimedia exhibits.
The National Football Foundation (NFF) launched the Hall in 1951 to stand as one of the nation’s premier sports shrines, immortalizing the game’s greatest players and coaches as positive role models for future generations. In 2009, Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. partnered with the NFF to construct and operate the new Hall of Fame facility, which will also provide a platform for community outreach, education and character development initiatives, as well as serve as one of Atlanta’s premier special event spaces.
Formerly located in South Bend, Indiana, it was connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the University of Notre Dame campus. This location closed December 30, 2012.
Early transiency and the move to South Bend
Original plans called for the Hall of Fame to be located at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the location of the first contest under rules now considered to be those of modern football, between teams from Rutgers and the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University; Rutgers won 6–4. Rutgers donated land near its football stadium, office space, and administrative support. After years of collecting donations for the construction of the building with ground not having been broken and no plans to do so, the New Jersey Attorney General began an investigation of the finances of the Hall of Fame's foundation, the National Football Foundation. In response, the Foundation moved its operations to New York City, where it continued to collect donations for several years.
When the New York Attorney General's office began its own investigation the foundation moved to Kings Mills, Ohio, where a building finally was constructed adjacent to Kings Island in 1978. The Hall opened with excellent attendance figures early on, but visitation dwindled dramatically as time went on, and the facility and its adjacent Galbreath Field football stadium closed in 1992.
Despite estimates that the South Bend location would attract more than 150,000 visitors a year, the Hall of Fame drew about 115,000 people the first year after its opening day of August 25, 1995, and about 80,000 annually after that.
In 2009, the National Football Foundation decided to move the College Football Hall of Fame from South Bend, Ind. The possibility of moving the museum has been brought up in other cities, including Dallas, which had the financial backing of billionaire T. Boone Pickens. However, the National Football Foundation ultimately decided on Atlanta for the next site. Set to open in late 2014, the new $67 million museum will be located next to Centennial Olympic Park, which is near other attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, and the anticipated National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Plans for a health museum also have been announced. The Hall of Fame will be located relatively close to the Georgia Institute of Technology of the ACC and roughly 40 miles (64 km) from the University of Georgia of the SEC. The new building broke ground on January 28, 2013.
The facility will top out at 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) and will contain approximately 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of exhibit and event space, interactive displays, and a 45-yard indoor football field. The new Hall of Fame will be built on what is currently the “Green Lot” of the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) on Marietta Street across from Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. The Hall of Fame is expected to open in the fall of 2014. Atlanta Hall Management will run the College Football Hall of Fame.
Sponsors of the new College Football Hall of Fame include Coca-Cola, AT&T, Chick-fil-A, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Kia Motors, Under Armour, Omni Hotels Georgia Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, and Brasfield & Gorrie. 
The College Football Hall of Fame's South Bend building was constructed in 1995. Sam Jones of The Troyer Group was the lead architect and a graduate of Notre Dame. The museum, located under the Gridiron Plaza, featured memorials and memorabilia of great American football players and coaches of the past. A 12-minute video in the museum's Stadium Theater highlighted the "thrills and pageantry" of college football. Interactive areas allowed visitors to test their own speed, agility, punting, passing, and blocking skills. Video monitors replayed historical games and plays. Busts of coaches and players enshrined in the Hall of Fame were located throughout the museum. The entrance-level floor featured a gift shop and restaurant, as well as murals featuring hall-of-famers and significant moments in the history of college football. The exterior of the building featured a 19,000-square-foot (1,800 m2) artificial turf space, named the Gridiron Plaza, that could be rented to host outdoor events.
Prior to moving to South Bend, the College Football Hall of Fame was located adjacent to Kings Island in Kings Mills, Ohio (1978–1994) . It was a Georgian-colonial style building. When it opened, it featured a historical time tunnel, Knute Rockne locker room of great coaches, four movie theaters, a strategy room, a 1930s soda shop, and a regulation sized football field.
As of 2012, there are 829 players enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, representing 186 institutions. Additionally, 178 coaches have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The following institutions have had the greatest number of players inducted:
Criteria for induction
The National Football Foundation outlines specific criteria that may be used for evaluating a possible candidate for induction into the Hall of Fame. NFF members and the coaches, athletic directors, and sports information officials representing member schools may submit nominations for consideration. Nominees with the highest votes received from one of the eight District Screening Committees (DSC) located closest to the nominee's college or university are included on that year's ballot, which is distributed to all NFF dues-paying members. The selection of Hall of Fame inductees, however, ultimately is determined by the Foundation's Honor Court.
Criteria for player nominees
- A player must have received major first team All-America recognition.
- A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation's Honors Court 10 years after his last year of intercollegiate football played.
- While each nominee's football achievements are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man with love of his country. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.
- In accordance with the 50-year rule,† players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years. For example, to be eligible for the 2005 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1955 or thereafter.
- The nominee must have ended his professional athletic career prior to the time of the nomination.
†Those players that do not comply with the 50-year rule and coaches who have not won 60% of their games may still be eligible for consideration by the Division I-A and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.
Criteria for coach nominees
- While each nominee's football achievements are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man with love of his country.
- A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age.
- The nominee must have held a head coaching position at the collegiate level for at least ten years.
- The nominee must hold at least a .600 career record over the course of 100 games or more.
The eligibility criteria have changed over time, and have occasionally led to criticism—Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com has said,
"The NFF election process is arcane and confusing. Based on current rules, Notre Dame's Joe Montana will never be in the College Football Hall of Fame. He was never an All-American on a team recognized by the NCAA. If that sounds outrageous, consider that at one time hall of famers had to actually graduate." (emphasis in original)
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