LEXINGTON, Ky. - NCAA Football, in association with Russell Athletic, Wilson Sporting Goods and Pop Warner, recently awarded each of more than 40 youth football leagues and teams with $3,000 in credits for new uniforms, equipment and more. This inaugural grant program was created to allow the leagues to receive NCAA Football replica jerseys and pants through Russell Athletic, footballs from Wilson, or provide registration fee waivers for financially disadvantaged families.
"Our current game uniforms are about five years old," said grant recipient Bobbie Thiessen, vice president of operations, Eagle Youth Sports, Inc., of Winter Park, Fla. "These new uniforms will help us achieve our goal of making the youth football experience affordable and increase community awareness of our league."
To obtain the grants, leagues and teams filled out applications through Pop Warner citing financial need and how the grant would be used. Some grant winners chose to award participation scholarships to low-income youth, while others chose to outfit young players in jerseys just like those worn by their favorite NCAA Football team.
â€œNCAA Football is thrilled to be able to assist youth football leagues nationwide welcome new participants and motivate those participants to pursue a college education,â€ said Bob Vecchione, chair of the Youth Initiatives Committee. â€œWeâ€™re excited to see what these teams will accomplish with their grants, and weâ€™re looking forward to receiving even more applications for next yearâ€™s program.â€
In addition to the grant program, NCAA Football's Youth Initiative includes Youth Day clinics that were held in three cities in July and several events surrounding the BCS National Championship game in January 2009. The Youth Initiative strives to attract more youth participants to the game, provide them with additional motivation to pursue higher education opportunities, help them develop the necessary skills to be successful on and off the field, and help to establish a new base of lifelong NCAA Football fans.
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Association Name Region College Requested
Aurora Association** Southwest LSU
Beacon House Falcons Eastern Texas Tech
Boston Bengals PW New England Clemson
Carlsbad PW Wescon TCU
Children Advancing Towards Success Eastern Kansas St.
Costa Mesa Pop Warner Wescon Michigan
Cowlitz County PW** Pacific NW Washington St.
Delta Bay Buccaneers Pacific NW Oklahoma St.
Denver Association** Southwest Arkansas
Downtown Athletic Assoc. Mid-South North Carolina
Duquesne Youth FB Assoc. Eastern Georgia
Eagle Youth Sports, Inc. Southeast Florida
Fort Bend Longhorns Southwest Texas
Garner Civitan PW Mid-South N.C. State
Gary Steelers PW Mid-America Purdue
Hoffman Estates AA Mid-America Nebraska
Hyde Park PW New England Boston College
Klamath County PW Pacific NW Washington St.
Medford PW Pacific NW Oregon St.
Minnesota Bulldogs Mid-America Kansas St.
New York City Pop Warner** Eastern N.C. State
Next Level Sports Mid-America Vanderbilt
Northampton Indians FB Eastern Florida St.
Oak Cliff Bears Southwest Texas Tech
Philipstown Hawks Eastern North Carolina
Pleasant Grove Broncos Southwest Florida
Pride Lions Youth Sports** Eastern Kansas
River Valley PW Wescon Michigan
Rusk County Oilers PW Southwest Baylor
Secret Society Underdogs** Eastern Kentucky
South Association Wescon Arizona
Southwest Austin PW Southwest Georgia
Space Coast Sharx Southeast Kentucky
Thornton Association** Southwest Texas Tech
Union County PW Southeast LSU
Village Longhorns Eastern Texas A&M
Watervliet Pop Warner Eastern Washington St.
Westside Ravens FB Eastern Washington
Winter Park Pop Warner Southeast Florida
Youth Achieving Project Eastern Florida St.
** indicate new league/assoc. for 2008