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NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award

Gerald R. Ford at the University of Michigan in 1933
Gerald R. Ford at the University of Michigan in 1933

The award, named in recognition of former President Gerald Ford, honors an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics on a continuous basis over the course of their career. It was established in 2004 by the late NCAA President Myles Brand.

President Ford was the 38th President of the United States. He was Vice-President when he took the oath of office in 1974 after President Richard Nixon resigned, and served as President until 1977.

Ford's political career began in 1948, when he was elected to congress from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He rose to become House Minority Leader in 1965, a post which he held until appointed to the vice-presidency by President Nixon in 1973.

Ford played football at the University of Michigan where he participated on national championship teams in 1932 and 1933. He started every game at center his senior year and was voted most valuable player by teammates. Ford received contract offers from the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, which he turned down in favor of studying law at Yale University. Before beginning his law courses, Ford coached freshman football and boxing.


* In July 2012, following the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, the NCAA vacated the 2011 award given to Joe Paterno.