Dallas is Trying to Intercept the College Football Hall of Fame From South Bend

So, this one seemed to sneak past everyone's radar -- the media relations bigwigs didn't even know about this at Dallas City Hall when we called this morning, though a Friend of Unfair Park did send word that Norm Hitzges made brief mention of this on KTCK-AM 'round 9:50 this morning. Ten minutes after that, Mayor Tom Leppert and John Crawford, president and CEO of DowntownDallas, were holding a press conference to announce the "formation of a task force whose mission is to bring the College Football Hall of Fame to Downtown Dallas." Specifically, the Hall of Fame would be adjacent to the city-owned convention center hotel ... so, ya know, speaking of ...

Also in on the deal is Tom Hansen, president of TM Advertising, which has created the "Haul the Hall" site to spark interest in the group's efforts -- complete with pretty pictures of models and a petition for signing. Says the press release, "The task force plans to privately raise 100 percent of the necessary funds to build, relocate and launch the new Hall."

Right now, the College Football Hall of Fame's in South Bend, Indiana -- where higher-ups, when reached by Unfair Park this morning, said they hadn't heard anything about this effort to relocate the Hall to Dallas. (Lisa Malin, its exec director, was out of the office and unavailable for comment.) But keep this in mind: The College Football Hall of Fame's parent organization is the 62-year-old National Football Foundation, which is headquartered on E. Las Colinas Blvd. in Irving. And its president and CEO is Steve Hatchell, former commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. Alas, he too couldn't be reached for comment this afternoon, as he's traveling. But his assistant said he'll return Unfair Park's call sooner than later. We will update accordingly.

Update: A press release from the city says Roger Staubach, T. Boone Pickens and Deion Sanders were also in attendance. Leppert said the proposal has been in the works for a year, and 400,000 visitors are projected in the first year.

"Is it a done deal? No. We are going to have to work hard," Leppert said. "But clearly we would not be pursuing this unless we had a good sense from our conversations that success was possible."

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