KINGSTON, R.I. – Former Rhode Island quarterback Tom Ehrhardt is one of 92 candidates on the 2016 Divisional Player ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, released Tuesday by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.
Inducted as part of the inaugural ECAC Hall of Fame class earlier this year, Ehrhardt earned All-American honors from the Associated Press and Kodak in both 1984 and 1985 for Rhode Island. He earned similar honors from the American Football Coaches Association in 1985. In two seasons with the Rams, he won two Yankee Conference titles while leading the team to a 20-6 record.
Ehrhardt was a two-time First-Team All-Yankee Conference selection and the league’s player of the year in 1985. He is the only player in program history to have his jersey retired. Despite playing just two seasons in Kingston, he set virtually every passing record in Rhode Island history, and still holds the marks for touchdown passes in a career (78), season (42) and game (8), passing yards in a season (4,508) and a game (566).
He held New England records for career touchdown passes (78), most touchdown passes in a game (8), passing yards in a game (566) and touchdown passes in a season (42). On Nov. 16, 1985, after Rhody fell behind 42-21, Ehrhardt led the Rams to a 56-42 victory over Connecticut to complete a perfect 5-0 conference season and clinch a spot in the I-AA Playoffs. In that game, Ehrhardt passed for 566 yards and eight touchdowns.
Using the process introduced last year, the NFF will conduct an electronic voting system for balloting. The ballot was emailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Courts, which deliberate and select the class.
The FBS Honors Court, chaired by former ACC Commissioner and NCAA president and NFF Director Emeritus Gene Corrigan, and the Divisional Honors Court, chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
The announcement of the 2016 Class will be made Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz. The hotel is serving as the official media hotel for the College Football Playoff National Championship, which will be played Jan. 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a First Team All-American by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach.
Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their school’s geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts. Each year, approximately 15 candidates, who are not selected for the Hall of Fame, will be named automatic holdovers and will bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year.
Additionally, the Veterans Committee may make recommendations to the Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago.
Of the 5.06 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 963 players, including the 2015 class, have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.