LEXINGTON, Ky. - Twenty-four youth football players from St. Philip's School and Community Center in Dallas donned their Texas A&M collegiate uniforms on Saturday, Oct. 3, and watched as Texas A&M took on the University of Arkansas at the new, $1.3 billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium. The young players, who range in age from nine to 11 years old, comprise one of 100 youth football leagues nationwide that received collegiate youth jerseys and pants through NCAA Football's Youth Initiative Apparel Grant Program offered through Russell Athletic.
Texas A&M athletic department worked to recognize the St. Philip's Aggies youth football team for their accomplishments this season allowing team members and their chaperones the opportunity to attend the game, and, although the Aggies lost to the Razorbacks, the experience was certainly memorable for the young players.
"The kids were ecstatic when they found out they could go to the game," said Eddie Fletcher â€“ coach, St. Philip's Aggies. "Attending the game really gave our youth athletes a concrete example of our mantra â€“ stay in school, do your best and you can go to college. If they play football while they're there, it's just icing on the cake for us."
In its second year, the NCAA Football Youth Initiative's grant program received more than 140 applications and increased the number of grants awarded by 12 percent â€“ providing assistance to 100 teams this year, up from 89 teams in 2008. Applicants were required to prove financial need and cite current efforts to involve all youth interested in playing football in their communities. For example, some applicants stated they provide waivers to families who cannot afford to pay the registration costs, while others consider a potential player's academic achievements before they can join the team.
"By providing youth football players authentic jerseys worn by NCAA Football players, we hope to inspire them to work hard, study hard, practice good sportsmanship and aspire to attend a university after high school," said Bob Vecchione â€“ chair, NCAA Football Youth Initiatives Committee.
About NCAA Football
NCAA Football USA, Inc. represents a coalition of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA), the Football Bowl Association (FBA), the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF) and serves as the collective voice to promote college football. Visit www.NCAAFootball.com for more information, and find our Youth Initiative on Facebook by clicking here.
About Texas A&M University
As one of the worldâ€™s leading research institutions, Texas A&M is in the vanguard in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represents an annual investment of more than $582 million, which ranks third nationally for universities without a medical school, and underwrites approximately 3,500 sponsored projects. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world.
About St. Philipâ€™s School and Community Center
For over thirty years, St. Philipâ€™s School and Community Center has provided a dynamic athletics program that includes basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and of course, football. Children ages 5 to 14 participate in the football program, which provides children with confidence and team building skills for the field and the classroom. St. Philipâ€™s athletics program positively impacts the lives of approximately 500 children and youth.
St. Philipâ€™s School and Community Center, located in South Dallas, is an exemplary independent school serving 270 children and a community center, which serves 1,500 children, youth, and adults annually. The mission of St. Philipâ€™s is to enhance the lives of children and families regardless of economic background but with particular emphasis on low and moderate income families, through educational excellence, Christian principles, and compatible community services.