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First Lady Joins Forces With NCAA to Salute Military Families

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2012 – Alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has launched a new campaign to recognize, honor and support service members and their families.

The NCAA will salute troops and their families at each of its 89 championships this year, starting with the Football Championship Subdivision title game tomorrow in Frisco, Texas.

A Joining Forces public service announcement featuring the first lady and NCAA President Mark Emmert will air for the first time at the game. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, launched the Joining Forces campaign last year to raise awareness of troops, veterans and their families, and to call on all sectors of society to support them.

The championship game also will honor military families by including the University of North Texas ROTC color guard, the unfurling of a large American flag by the Texas Wing Civil Air Patrol, and recognition of military families in attendance.


“Our nation’s service members demonstrate the kind of example we should all try to set for young people, and we at the NCAA are honored to recognize military members and families across the 89 championships we host every year,” Emmert said. “As student-athletes learn every day, each of us must rely on others to succeed. Now, military members and their families can look to the NCAA for the recognition and thanks they so richly deserve.”

The NCAA will recognize and honor service members and their families at its 89 championships in a number of ways, including:

-- Public address announcements at all finals sites as well asand at about 600 preliminary round sites;


-- Presentation of the PSA featuring the first lady and the NCAA president at all competition sites with video board capability;

-- Recognition of military members and their families in attendance;

-- Use of a military color guard to post the colors;

-- Access to NCAA-sponsored clinics youth clinics for children of military families: Men’s and Women’s Final Four and other NCAA-sponsored clinics;

-- Designated seating areas at select special events for military families;

-- Inviting military personnel to serve as honorary team or game captains;

-- Behind-the-scenes tours for military families prior tobefore select championship competitions for military families; and

-- The inclusion of military parachute jumps and aircraft flyovers, as available. 

“Joining Forces challenges every part of our country to show our thanks by mobilizing, taking action, and making a real commitment to supporting our military families,” the first lady said. “We’re excited that the NCAA is recognizing the commitment and sacrifice of military families at all its championships, as well as inviting military kids to participate in youth sports clinics. These military children will get to take the field with some of their heroes. That’s one way we can show them that they’re some of ours.”

As NCAA championships span 23 sports with widely varying formats, Joining Forces activities will vary from event to event, officials noted, but the NCAA is committed to recognizing service members and their families in as many ways as possible at every event. The list of recognition activities will continue to grow over time as the association and the Joining Forces initiative continue to build relationships and gain partners across the country.

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities.

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Related Sites:
Joining Forces Campaign
Special Report: Joining Forces Campaign
National Collegiate Athletic Association


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