Former Alabama Crimson Tide star and current running back for the New Orleans Saints, Mark Ingram, joined Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer, Regions Financial Corporation and Visa Inc. to tackle head on the issue of financial literacy improvement among Alabama teens. They announced a statewide effort to improve the money management skills of high school and middle school students with the rollout of Financial Football, a free educational video game and classroom curriculum developed by Visa Inc. The game is being distributed by the Treasurer’s office to every public middle school and high school in Alabama.
State Treasurer Boozer kicked off this financial literacy campaign today at Calera High School with help from 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Ingram and officials from Regions and Visa. Ingram and Boozer rolled up their sleeves and led teams of students in a hard-fought, high energy game of Financial Football. Ingram shared his personal experiences on the importance of money management with students.
“I think financial education is very important, especially at a young age,” Ingram told students who were selected to play the game. “I learned a lot about financial education as a young man because my father played NFL as well. When he was finished playing, he made some mistakes investing his money and some financial decisions that weren’t always the best for him or my family. He is is incarcerated in a federal prison right now.”
Ingram also told the students that some NFL football players get into financial trouble because they don’t manage their money wisely.
“You may have heard that we make pretty good money,” he joked with the students. “But we have to be wise with how we spend it. Some guys go out and blow it all on Lamborghinis. But, you need to be able to have some money saved to live on when you are 70, 75, 80 years old.”
Treasurer Boozer shared with the students that his father was also once a famous football player at the University of Alabama, where he was roommates and good friends with Paul “Bear” Bryant. He said his father and Ingram shared the common history of both being running backs and playing at the Rose Bowl to win a national champship for the University Alabama – 75 years apart.
Boozer credited the Shelby County School District with being a leader in the state of Alabama in promoting financial literacy to students. He said the Financial Football game is another great tool for Shelby County and other districts throughout the state to use with students to help teach them about making good financial decisions.
As the game got underway, it didn’t take long for the students to get into the competitive spirit of the game. Loud cheers could be heard coming from the Library Media Center as the students and their coaches answered financial questions in order to gain either an offensive or defensive advantage. Junior and senior football players, cheerleaders, and students with the top ten GPA’s were chosen to participate – with Boozer’s junior squad ultimately upsetting Ingram’s seniors 15-8 on a last second scoring drive.
“Financial Football is a wonderful way to get students interested in personal finances and gives them a financial playbook they can use the rest of their lives,” said Alabama Treasurer Young Boozer. “This is a valuable program and a great partnership between my office, Visa and the NFL.”
Regions Financial Corporation’s Senior Executive Vice President and South Region President John M. Turner said his company is thrilled to be a partner in providing Financial Football to students in Alabama.
“Regions Financial Corporation is a strong believer in promoting financial education. We are proud to help Treasurer Boozer in his financial education for Alabamans,” said Turner. “We strive to help our members understand how to set a budget, use credit wisely and save for retirement. Visa’s Financial Football is a valuable program and we’re thrilled to be a committed partner. Teaching responsible, money management skills is not only a good thing to do; it’s the right thing to do.”
The centerpiece of Visa’s nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, Financial Football helps students and adults tackle their financial futures. The game is accompanied by a classroom curriculum.
The game is also available online at www.pennsylvania.financialfootball.com, Financial Football puts students’ fiscal knowledge to the test in an online simulation game environment by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. Visa has also released the game as a free iPhone app on iTunes, along with an optimized HD iPad version.
“For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to assist Treasurer Boozer in his efforts to strengthen financial education,” said Nat Sillin, Head of U.S. financial education, Visa Inc.
This launch is part of a national educational campaign with Visa, the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, now in its seventh season. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with forty-one states and the District of Columbia to distribute Financial Football to every high school and middle school in those states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.