The Board of Trustees of the Pro Football Hall of Fame formally announced today changes to the organization’s By-Laws for the Selection Committee
. Approved was a modification to the selection process by which a Contributor – defined as an individual who has “made outstanding contributions to professional football in capacities other than playing or coaching” – will automatically be included among the annual list of finalists for election. The Contributor finalist will also be voted on for election independent of all other finalists. The change to the By-Laws was approved at the Board’s annual meeting held on August 1, in Canton.
Although the Contributor finalist will be voted on independent of the other nominees, he will still be required – like all other finalists – to receive an eighty percent positive vote for election by the 46-member Selection Committee.
Contributors have previously been part of the modern-era nomination list that included coaches and players. The result has been that since 1963, when the Hall of Fame first opened, only 19 Contributors have been elected and 10 of those were elected in the first five Hall of Fame classes, including six as Charter Members.
“The Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees has carefully reviewed the process as it relates to Contributors,” stated Board of Trustees Chairman Randy Hunt. “It is our belief that this modification will create a more level playing field when it comes to considering Contributors for election to the Hall of Fame.”
The Board, in an effort to address the backlog of deserving Contributor candidates, also approved a temporary measure allowing for two Contributor finalists in years one, three and five, of the next five years. In years two and four of that same period, there will be just one Contributor finalist. At the end of the five-year period, the number of Contributor finalists going forward will be one per year.
To keep the maximum number of nominees elected at no more than eight per year, the Senior finalists (players whose active careers has been completed for at least 25 years) will be reduced from two to one per year in years one, three and five of the same five-year period. In years two and four and each year thereafter, there will be two Senior finalists, as is now the practice.
The Contributor finalists will be selected annually, by five members, on a rotational basis, of a nine-member subcommittee of the Selection Committee.
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