The college football community overcame extraordinary challenges in 2020 to safely allow student-athletes the opportunity to compete.
IRVING, Texas (Jan. 13, 2021) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame salutes all those who played a critical role in 2020 during the pandemic to ensure that the players, coaches and fans had the opportunity to experience the game in safe environments.
"The college football community just concluded the most challenging football season in our lifetimes as the global pandemic has impacted every aspect of life," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "This summer, the college football season appeared uncertain, but as the fall approached the leaders of our sport rallied. They found ways to address health and safety concerns, and thanks to their herculean efforts and many sleepless nights, the season happened, albeit with a few twists and turns.
"It's been truly remarkable, and everybody has had to make sacrifices. The players, the coaches, administrators, parents, fans, bowl organizers, medical staff, all top a truly endless list of people who made the season happen. We especially want to salute the 10 commissioners in the FBS and the leadership of the College Football Playoff and the bowl games for all they did to create experiences for the student-athletes who play our game, many for their coveted final senior seasons, while realizing there were countless others who had to sit on the sidelines because of the pandemic."
Specifically, the NFF would like to salute conference commissioners Mike Aresco (American), John Swofford (ACC), Bob Bowlsby (Big 12), Kevin Warren (Big Ten), Judy MacLeod (Conference USA), Jon A. Steinbrecher (Mid-American), Craig Thompson (Mountain West), Larry Scott (Pac-12), Greg Sankey (SEC), Keith Gill (Sun Belt), and the leaders at the four independents (Army, BYU, Liberty, and Massachusetts) who played this season, as well as College Football Playoff (CFP) Executive Director Bill Hancock, whose staff just staged its seventh successful CFP National Championship, and the leaders of the 25 postseason bowl games that concluded the 2020 season. The CFP has been an important addition to the college football landscape the past seven years, and Bill Hancock and his staff have done an amazing job, especially this year with all the additional challenges they faced.
During the summer months, student-athletes launched a "We Want to Play" movement, including leadership from quarterbacks Justin Fields (Ohio State) and Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) who both earned appearances in the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame joined the ACC for one season, ensuring the team could play a full schedule in 2020.
Despite some games moving dates, the SEC and Big 12 each only had two gameThe Crimson Tide concluded its season with a 52-24 victory over Ohio State Jan. 11 in the CFP National Championship before a pandemic-restricted crowd of 14,926 fans at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, giving coach Nick Saban an unprecedented seventh national title, the most in major college football history. During the CFP title game, Brady White, the Memphis quarterback and the winner of the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, was honored on the Jumbotron between the first and second quarters. The NFF would also like to salute NFF Board Member Tom Garfinkel, who serves as vice chairman, president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, for all of his efforts to successfully host the game in South Florida.
Earlier in the day on ESPN, the NFF announced the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class, which includes 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) and coaches Rudy Hubbard (Florida A&M) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma).s canceled. The ACC played 85 of a possible 90-game regular-season schedule (94.4 percent) in 2020, the most regular-season games of any conference. The Rose Bowl, the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses made the difficult decision to move the CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One to AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas, and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association helped facilitate the move by providing local resources to stage the game between Notre Dame and Alabama. The television networks allowed millions of fans to enjoy the games at home with extraordinary efforts and flexibility from ESPN, FOX and CBS to televise the games each and every weekend.