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March 7, 2000

NACDA Sponsors Intercollegiate Mentoring Initiative

CLEVELAND -- The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced it has entered into an agreement with First Mentors, the youth mentoring program created by First USA Bank and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), to become the official mentoring program of the NACDA.

NACDA will solicit college and university members for participation in the program. First Mentors is an outgrowth of Campus Pals, the mentoring initiative that involved 38 NACDA-member institutions in 1998-99 and more than 900 children and mentors.

"NACDA's previous involvement in this effort has indicated that mentoring is vital to our member colleges and universities," says Dave Hart, Jr., director of athletics at Florida State University and NACDA's president. "The First Mentors program will provide positive opportunities for our member institutions, students and student-athletes and for children in need of mentoring in the local communities. We are pleased to have established a working relationship with First USA."

First Mentors is the country-wide volunteer opportunity created by First USA and BBBSA that unites children in need of a caring friend and mentor with responsible, active college students. First Mentors will hold several group events during the academic year and aims to teach the importance of volunteer service and critical mentoring skills to today's youth. The program is open to any interested college student enrolled on a participating campus.

"First USA is delighted NACDA has chosen First Mentors as it's official mentoring program," says Laura Scanlan, senior vice president for public affairs at First USA. "NACDA provides us with an opportunity to significantly expand First Mentors to new college and university campuses and to engage college student-athletes as mentors and role models for our country's youth."

First Mentors addresses fundamental resources for youth by providing (1) caring, mentoring relationships with carefully selected student-athletes and campus leaders; (2) a safe place on campus to attend events and experience new ideas; (3) a healthy start through sports and fitness clinics and access to school training facilities; and (4) opportunities to perform community service activities.

First USA, a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation, is the world's largest Visa credit card issuer. The company has issued more than 58 million credit cards and has approximately $70 billion in outstanding loans. First USA employs 16,000 people in its 12 locations across North America and Europe.

BBBSA is the most widely know national mentoring organization serving youth in the country. For almost 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has helped millions of children through its more than 500 agencies.

NACDA is in its 35th year and serves as the professional and educational association for more than 6,100 college athletics directors, associates, assistants and conference commissioners at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Through its series of management seminars, clinics and workshops and publication of the bi-monthly magazine Athletics Administration, NACDA offers educational opportunities to its members. More than 1,200 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. NACDA also owns the two preseason football games, the Kickoff and Pigskin Classics. Additionally, NACDA operates the Sears Directors' Cup program, which honors the all-sports champion in each of the NCAA Divisions -- I, II and III - and the NAIA, for a total of four trophies.