INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA has proudly joined First Lady Michelle Obama to recognize, honor and support service members and their families through a new campaign at each of its 89 championships. A Joining Forces public service announcement  featuring the First Lady and NCAA President Mark Emmert will air for the first time on Saturday, January 7th at the Football Championship Subdivision title game in Frisco, Texas. The championship game will also honor military families by including the 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,” said NCAA President Emmert. “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.”

“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,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “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.”

Across its 89 championships in 2012, the NCAA will recognize and honor service members and their families in a number of ways, including:

• Public address announcements at all finals sites as well as at approximately 600 preliminary round sites;
• Presentation of the PSA featuring the First Lady and NCAA President Emmert at all competition sites with video board capability;
• Recognition of military personnel and their families in attendance;
• Use of a military color guard to post the colors;
• Access to 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 prior to select championship competitions for families of military personnel; and
• Including military parachute jumps and aircraft flyovers as available. 

As NCAA championships span 23 sports with widely varying formats, Joining Forces activities will vary from event to event, 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. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in 89 NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org for more details about the Association, its goals, members and partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. 

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support veterans and military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure veterans and military families have the support they have earned. The initiative focuses on key priority areas – employment, education, and wellness while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of America’s veterans and military families.