The nation's first Division I-AA College Football All-Star Game, an event newly created by TFN, The Football Network
(OTC: TFNK), in cooperation with eleven NCAA I-AA conferences, will take place in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
The game will be played at Lockhart Stadium on Tuesday evening, December 30, and televised nationally by TFN, which will begin operations this fall as a 24/7, year-round cable network devoted to all forms of football programming. The announcement was made by TFN's President and CEO, Jerry Solomon.
The players will be seniors, or others who have renounced their eligibility from 1-AA football. Participating conferences will include the Atlantic 10, the Big Sky Conference, the Big South Conference, the Gateway Football Conference, the Northeast Conference, the Ohio Valley Conference, the Pioneer Football League, the Southern Conference, the Southland Conference, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The teams will compete as two squads named for Eddie Robinson, the legendary coach of I-AA powerhouse Grambling State University, and the late Walter Payton, a product of I-AA Jackson State who went on to star for the Chicago Bears.
"We will be televising a full slate of I-AA conference games every season," said Solomon. "Concluding that coverage each year with an all-star game that highlights the talent in I-AA should make for a great event. After
all, Division I-AA has produced the likes of Walter Payton, Jerry Rice and Rich Gannon. These players have not had this type of platform in the past so this is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved."
Other I-AA players in the NFL today include Terrell Owens, Jay Fiedler, Randy Moss, Kurt Warner, Steve McNair, Wayne Chrebet, and Dexter Coakley.
Former NFL stars who played at the I-AA level include Calvin Hill, Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Jan Stenerud, Doug Williams and Ron Jaworski.
Added Linda Bruno, commissioner of Atlantic-10 football, "The Football Network's commitment to a I-AA all-star game provides an outstanding opportunity for our student-athletes to showcase their talents. All of us who are a part of I-AA football are well aware of the highly-skilled performances that we experience every Saturday and this event will help to raise the awareness of the many great football players who compete for us."
"We are excited about The Football Network's continued endorsement of I-AA football as evidenced by its comprehensive regular season package and the addition of this year-end All Star game," said Danny Morrison, commissioner of Southern Conference football. " All one has to do is look at any recent Super Bowl roster to realize the superb talent that has been nurtured in the I-AA ranks. It's great that today's deserving student-athletes will now have such a top quality national forum to display their skills." I-AA All-Star Game/ page 2
Said Patty Viverito, who serves as Commissioner of both the Gateway and Pioneer conferences: "An all star game to showcase and celebrate the many outstanding football student-athletes in Division I-AA has been a longtime dream. The Football Network has stepped in to make this dream come true."
TFN will be providing live regular season coverage of a number of Division I-AA conferences, including the Big South, the Southern Conference, the Atlantic 10 and the Big Sky. In addition, TFN has signed agreements with the National Women's Football Association, Pop Warner Football, and the U.S. Flag & Touch Football League. Agreements have also been announced with the College Football Hall of Fame and with Pat Summerall, who will be a featured "voice" for the network.
Made-for-television movies will also be part of the program lineup. TFN's first film will be based on Penn State's Adam Taliaferro and his battle to defeat football-related paralysis (from the book, "Miracle in the Making").
TFN already produces weekly radio reports, heard on the syndicated Sports Byline USA, and has produced, and is developing, programs to be seen on other cable networks until its own signal is launched. TFN will deliver all football, all the time, to the nation's millions of football fans who feel "Enough is Never Enough!" Further information is available at www.footballnetwork.com.
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Contact: Marty Appel Public Relations (914) 235-4017