Nomination Process Begins for 2013 Armed Forces Merit Award

The nomination process for the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America in conjunction with the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has begun with the 2013 recipient to be named on Veterans’ Day (November 11).

With 15 nominations for the inaugural Armed Forces Merit Award, Nate Boyer from the University of Texas was selected as the 2012 recipient. Earning scholarship in August 2012 after walking on to the Texas football team, the 31-year old Boyer became the starting long-snapper for the 2012 Longhorns and earned Big 12 All-Academic honors. A Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces with service in Iraq, Boyer is currently a staff sergeant for the Texas National Guard while attending UT.

The following criteria will be used in reviewing the nominations for the Armed Forces Merit Award:
•Individuals with an armed forces background that are currently involved as an athletic administrator, and/or football coach/staff member/player that have brought distinction and recognition to both their military service and the sport.
•Individuals and/or groups that have created, developed and/or produced football-related programs that provide care, concern and support for past or present members of the United States armed forces and/or their families.

The Armed Forces Merit Award will be selected by a panel of individuals from the Football Writers Association of America and the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Nominations will be sought from various groups and associations, including the American Football Coaches Association, College Sports Information Directors of America, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame and USA Football. The nominee’s “contribution" will be assessed by reviewing various items, including the completion of a nomination form, supporting documents and letters of recommendation.

The Armed Forces Merit Award will be awarded for the second time prior to the playing of the 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Nominations for the Armed Forces Merit Award are being accepted now with the selection process beginning in October. The 2013 recipient will be announced November 11. The 11th annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be played this December featuring the United States Naval Academy (if bowl-eligible) and a school from the Mountain West Conference. The date and kickoff time for the post-season game at the 45,000-seat Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth is to be determined. The game will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio.

As the official bowl game that honors all branches of the United States armed forces, the Armed Forces Bowl (www.armedforcesbowl.com) is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, Inc. (ERT). The Armed Forces Bowl was inaugurated in 2003 as the Fort Worth Bowl under corporate sponsorship of PlainsCapital Bank. After the 2005 game was played without a corporate sponsor, Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter took over sponsorship in 2006 as the post-season intercollegiate football game became officially known as the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The game has been televised annually on ESPN since its inception with radio coverage provided the past five years by ESPN Radio.

The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA, www.sportswriters.net) consists of the men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. Founded in 1941, the membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards and an All-America team. Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication among all those who work within the game. The FWAA also sponsors scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest. Behind the leadership of President Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times, Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran journalists, the FWAA continues grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. There are now over 1,200 members.