Laramie, Wyo.- The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) has announced its 135 semifinalists for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments. The Campbell Trophy is recognized as college football’s premier scholar-athlete award. The 135 individuals come from all divisions of college football. University of Wyoming senior center Rafe Kiely is one of the individuals nominated for this year’s award.
Kiely completed his bachelor’s degree in marketing in December of 2014. He has achieved a 3.398 cumulative grade-point average and is currently pursuing studies in supply chain management and logistics at UW. Kiely, who is originally from Wheaton, Ill., has played in 24 career games and started 17 for the Cowboys.
Among Kiely’s academic achievements were being named to the 2015 Spring Semester President’s List (4.00 gpa) at the University of Wyoming and earning 2013 and 2014 Academic All-Mountain West Conference honors.
The community service projects he’s been involved with include: in the fall of 2014 helping to develop a marketing campaign with the University of Wyoming Dean of Students Office on the Prevention of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault; in the spring of 2014 volunteering, along with many other UW football players, on Flood Prevention efforts in Saratoga, Wyo., filling sand bags and building barriers to help prevent flooding; volunteering at the Laramie, Wyo., Salvation Army during his college career; coaching Youth Sports through the Wheaton, Ill., School Districts; and volunteering with the Youth Football program for Special Needs Children in Wheaton, Ill.
From the original list of 135 semifinalists, 15 finalists will be named members of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class that carries with it an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship for each individual. That announcement will be made on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015. Those recipients will advance as the finalists for the 2015 Campbell Award. The winner of the Campbell Award will receive an additional $7,000 in scholarship money to increase his overall postgraduate scholarship to $25,000.
The Campbell Trophy is named for Bill Campbell, who was chairman of Intuit and was a former player and coach at Columbia University. Campbell was honored in 2004 as the recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal. The Campbell Trophy, which is displayed at its home in the New York Athletic Club, is a 25-pound bronze trophy.
“These 135 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “It is important for us to showcase their success on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year’s semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders.”
The 135 semifinalists have achieved a number of impressive accomplishments already in their careers, including: a combined average gpa of 3.60; 59 All-Conference selections; 24 Academic All-America honors; and 8 All-America selections.
This year’s semifinalists are represented by all divisions of college football. Kiely is one of 56 nominees from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). There are 23 nominations from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), 20 from NCAA Division II, 27 from NCAA Division III and 9 from the NAIA. There are 71 offensive nominees, 52 defensive nominees and 12 special teams nominees.
To be nominated by their schools, candidates must meet the following requirements: be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility; have achieved a cumulative gpa of 3.2 or better on a 4.0 scale; have outstanding football ability; and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The Scholar-Athlete class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is made up of nationally-recognized media members, College Football Hall of Fame members and athletics administrators.
“The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees, as well as their schools and coaches on their tremendous accomplishments,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist’s achievements, showcasing their ability to balance academics and athletics at the highest level. The NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from this outstanding group of candidates.”
A total of more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, increasing the all-time distribution to over $11 million.