Chuck Ealey Hall of Fame Campaign Strong

Toledo Local Features  |  09/12/2010 7:00 am

Undefeated high school quarterback. A starting college quarterback with a 35-0 record with the University of Toledo. Three-time Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. Two-time Tangerine Bowl MVP and 8th place Heisman Trophy candidate for 1972. First Team All-America recognition by Football News. Winner of the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup.

Sounds like a shoe-in for the College Football Hall of Fame, right? For legendary UT quarterback Chuck Ealey, it's not that simple.

Ealey's football career was a long and victorious one for every team he graced, from his high school days, to the University of Toledo and on to the CFL. Ealey's laundry list of impressive accomplishments got him nominated numerous times for the Hall of Fame, only to be disqualified each time for one detail. The hall of fame rules state a candidate must have received First Team All-America by a recognized media outlet. Ealey received such an award in 1972, but from Football News. Although current All-America teams selected by Football News are recognized by the NCAA, that recognition did not begin until after 1993, meaning any teams before that time were not valid then, and are not valid now.

The whole situation isn't sitting well with more than a few people, and a massive online petition has been started to "Induct Chuck." The website is a volunteer organization within The Chuck Ealey foundation, which inspires youth and adults to become positive participants in their communities by leading through a winning attitude and spirit. The petition is available on InductChuck.com, where you'll also find a list of his accomplishments, a biography and information on how you can get involved.

People who remember his legacy are spreading the word anyway they know how, including John Amato, who designed a shirt officially licensed by UT of Ealey's likeness and number. Proceeds not only benefit the Chuck Ealey Foundation,but also serve to remind people of Ealey's athletic prowess and importance within the university's history.

"I just think he's that inspirational that people should know his story, that he was such a success as a football player and in everything he's done. It's the people that support his cause that really tells the most about him. 'Induct Chuck' wasn't created by him. It was created by a group of people who believe in him and think he should be in the hall of fame," said Amato. "It's a great story for Toledo and it's a type of role model everyone should have."

The hope is the grassroots campaign will finally make permanent and public the place Chuck Ealey has held in the hearts of football fans for decades.

If you'd like to sign the petition to have Chuck Ealey reconsidered for College Football Hall of Fame induction, visit InductChuck.com. If you're interested in a Chuck Ealey shirt, visit www.jupmode.com/chuck-ealey-t-shirt.html



COMMENTS