College Football Hall of Fame
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|Location||250 Marietta St. NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30313
|Type||College sports hall of fame|
|Director||John W. Stephenson, Jr.|
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. In August 2014, the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience opened in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Previously located in South Bend, Indiana, the new Hall of Fame is a 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) attraction located in the heart of Atlanta’s sports, entertainment and tourism district, and is adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park.
The National Football Foundation (NFF) launched the Hall in 1951 to immortalize the players and coaches of college football. 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 a special event space in Atlanta.
When 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.
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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 closed in 1992. Nearby Galbraith field remained open as the home of Moeller High School Football until 2003. 
A new building was opened in South Bend, Indiana on August 25, 1995. 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, and about 80,000 annually after that.
Move to Atlanta
In 2009, the National Football Foundation decided to move the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta, Georgia. 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. The new $68.5 million museum opened on August 23, 2014. It is 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 National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Plans for a health museum also have been announced. The Hall of Fame is located near the Georgia Institute of Technology of the ACC and roughly 70 miles (110 km) from the University of Georgia of the SEC. The new building broke ground on January 28, 2013. Sections of the architecture are reminiscent of a football in shape.
The facility tops out at 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) and contains approximately 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of exhibit and event space, interactive displays and a 45-yard indoor football field. Atlanta Hall Management operates the College Football Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame's founding partners include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Coca-Cola, and Kia Motors. The Hall’s official sponsors are Brasfield & Gorrie, Georgia Pacific, Georgia Power, The Home Depot, Invest Atlanta, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Piedmont Healthcare, Regions Bank, Southwest Airlines, Sporturf, and Under Armour.
Players by school
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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- "Overview". College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
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- "College Football Hall of Fame: Eligibility, Screening & Procedure." National Football Foundation.
- Dodd, Dennis (May 15, 2012). "'The Boz' still being punished for being... a college kid". CBSSports.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012.