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Notre Dame’s AD, Jack Swarbrick, to Speak at the 20th Annual LEARFIELD Intercollegiate Athletics Forum

Event will follow with the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas, marking the ninth year the organizations have partnered.

For the past eight years NFF National Scholar-Athletes have participated on a panel at the Learfield IMG College Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. NFF Vice Chairman and TV personality Jack Ford (center top) has moderated the past several years. Participants have included Arkansas’ Brook Ellis in 2016 (left), Kansas State’s Dalton Riser in 2018 (center bottom), Tennessee’s Brandon Kennedy virtually in 2020 (right top) and Grambling’s De’Arius Christmas in 2018 (right bottom.)
Photo Courtesy NFF

In a press release from the National Football Foundation, the Sports Business Journal is partnering with the NFF and moving the 2021 LEARFIELD Intercollegiate Athletics Forum to Las Vegas.

IRVING, Texas (Aug. 10, 2021) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today it will again partner with the Sports Business Journal (SBJ) to promote the 20th Annual LEARFIELD Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, which will occur Dec. 8-9 at the ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas. The Forum, which took place virtually last year because of the pandemic, has traditionally occurred alongside the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City. Both events are shifting to Las Vegas for 2021, and the Forum will follow the Dinner, scheduled for Dec. 7 also at the ARIA.

Several of the 2021 NFF William V. Campbell Trophy® finalists, who will be honored Dec. 7 during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner, will participate in a panel during the Forum the next day. The NFF Campbell Trophy® finalists will each claim an $18,000 scholarship Dec.7 as part of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments, and several of the finalists will offer their insights at the Forum Dec. 8 on the challenges and opportunities of being a student-athlete.

“We are excited to again partner with the National Football Foundation in staging the LEARFIELD Intercollegiate Athletics Forum,” said Sports Business Journal Publisher & Executive Editor Abraham Madkour. “The NFF has remained a powerful force for seven decades in highlighting the life-long opportunities that college athletics create for the tens of thousands of student-athletes who participate each year, and they are an important voice in the collegiate landscape, making them a great partner for this event.”

The Forum draws more than 450 of the top people from the world of collegiate sports, including NCAA leadership, university presidents, conference commissioners, athletics directors, media partners and corporate sponsors. The Forum has become the premier event for intercollegiate athletics stakeholders to openly examine and candidly debate the numerous and complex issues surrounding college sports while providing valuable networking opportunities.

The 2021 Forum marks the ninth year that the NFF and the SBJ have partnered to promote the event, and the eighth year that NFF Campbell Trophy® finalists will participate. In 2020, Campbell Trophy® finalist Brandon Kennedy (Tennessee) participated during a virtual panel providing insights on the current issues facing student-athletes.

“We are pleased to partner again with the Sports Business Journal to promote the LEARFIELD Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, and we’re excited to be joining forces in Las Vegas at the ARIA,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “It is a natural connection for us, as the LEARFIELD Intercollegiate Athletics Forum attracts many of the same individuals as our event. We are also very excited to continue the tradition of having our Campbell Trophy® finalists participate on a panel. They represent the very best in the game and a level of accomplishment that we hope all student-athletes will aspire.”

The 2021 LEARFIELD Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, taking place Dec. 8-9 and now in its 20th year, will follow the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at the ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas. The 2021 NFF Campbell Trophy® finalists will be announced Oct. 27, and the winner of the Campbell Trophy® will be announced live at the event on Dec. 7. The semifinalists for the award will be announced Sept. 29.

Click here for additional program details and registration information for the 2021 Forum.

Click here for information and tickets to the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner.

All appropriate safety protocols in accordance with the CDC and state guidelines, related to COVID-19, will be in place at all events.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Val Ackerman, Commissioner, Big East Conference
  • Mike Aresco, Commissioner, American Athletic Conference
  • Bob Bowlsby, Commissioner, Big 12 Conference (NFF Board Member)
  • Josh Brooks, Athletic Director, University of Georgia
  • Joe Castiglione, Athletics Director, University of Oklahoma (NFF Board Member and 2013 NFF John L. Toner Award recipient)
  • Pat Chun, Athletics Director, Washington State University
  • Kim Damron, President & CEO, Paciolan
  • Jennifer Davis, CMO, LEARFIELD
  • Wes Day, President, Teall Sports & Entertainment
  • Mark Emmert, President, NCAA
  • Sean Frazier, Athletics Director, Northern Illinois University
  • Cole Gahagan, President & CEO, LEARFIELD
  • Derrick Gragg, Athletics Director, Northwestern University
  • Mark Harlan, Athletics Director, University of Utah
  • Martin Jarmond, Athletics Director, University of California, Los Angeles
  • China Jude, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Denver Broncos
  • Nina King, Athletics Director, Duke University
  • George Kliavkoff, Commissioner, Pac-12 Conference
  • Bernard Muir, Athletics Director, Stanford University
  • Jim Phillips, Commissioner, Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Chris Plonsky, Chief of Staff & Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director, University of Texas, Austin (Emeritus NFF Board Member)
  • Desiree Reed-Francois, Athletics Director, University of Missouri
  • Jeff Rubin, President & CEO, SIDEARM Sports
  • Greg Sankey, Commissioner, Southeastern Conference (NFF Board Member)
  • Chris Standiford, Athletics Director, Gonzaga University
  • Jack Swarbrick, Athletics Director, University of Notre Dame (2020 NFF John L. Toner Award recipient)
  • Craig Thompson, Commissioner, Mountain West Conference
  • Chad Weiberg, Athletics Director, Oklahoma State University
  • Amy Wilson, Managing Director of Inclusion, NCAA

About The Sports Business Journal

Sports Business Journal sits at the epicenter of the sports industry. SBJ provides the news, the networking and the data to equip the most powerful executives in sports business to make more informed decisions, deals and partnerships. SBJ’s award-winning media content is delivered via multiple media platforms, unparalleled networking opportunities through its hallmark events and awards and market-leading data. Sports Business Journal’s weekly and daily content provides original reporting and news aggregation, plus newsletters, podcasts and video. SBJ’s renowned events create opportunities for lead generation and partnerships as well as showcase the industry’s best talent in widely viewed awards series. SBJ SportsAtlas is the gateway to the data the industry needs to enable better deal-making with proprietary information on every type of deal. More information can be found at: and

About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Future For Football, The William V. Campbell Trophy®, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Catapult, Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Goodyear, Jostens, the New York Athletic Club and the Sports Business Journal. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork and learn more at

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Preserving the Past, Promoting the Present, Preparing the Future, and Protecting the Game Through Programs and Initiatives that Support

• 765 Colleges & Universities • Over 81,000 College Football Players

• 15,810 High Schools • Over 1.04 Million High School Football Players