The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (formerly The National Scholastic Sports Foundation) was founded in October 1990 by Jim Spier and Mike Byrnes. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 c (3) corporation. The mission of the NSAF is to inspire youth to live active, healthy and active lifestyles, and to prepare them for success.
After attending the IAAF World Junior Championships in Sudbury, Canada in 1988, Byrnes and Spier returned home knowing that the U.S. could have performed better on the world stage. The problem was not that the American athletes were not good enough; it was that many of the best athletes could not afford to travel to the qualifying event for the world meet, the USATF Junior Championships.
With that idea in mind, they decided to form a foundation whose sole purpose was to fund athletes to the "juniors" who could not otherwise afford the travel expense. Since then, a great number of athletes have been assisted. The approach has been enhanced to include other major high school invitationals, in the interest of athlete development.
Putting the theory into practice was another matter. In order to fund athlete travel, there had to be money. The initial monies generated were from memberships via the publication Track Digest. Those becoming members would, as a benefit, receive Track Digest. Mike Byrnes was the primary editor and, as long as the Digest was published, there would be memberships. But when the publication ceased a few years ago, the memberships "dried up." (Keep in mind that all of the work done by Spier and Byrnes was done on a voluntary basis with the "up front" money necessary to found the Foundation funded by them as well).
Since then, the primary means of the generation of funds for the junior program has been the profits, if any, from The New Balance Outdoor Nationals, the The New Balance Indoor Nationals and the Great American Cross Country Festival. What follows is a short history of those meets.
The NSAF has continued to follow its mission statement, funding junior athletes to USATF Junior and Youth competitions. There has also been significant support of "NSAF Select" high school meets for which many thousands of dollars has been allocated.
The Foundation has been a real "force" in supporting junior age track and field athletes. In fact, athlete development dollars for junior support and overall travel to our events has been well over one million dollars since the Foundation was formed in 1990.
Note: There have been many generous individuals and corporations who have helped to make the Foundation viable. We can not thank enough Nike and our other partners of the past and present. Individuals include athletes Marion Jones, Maurice Greene and HSI, who "put their money where their mouth is in a major way," Derek Adkins, Larry Rawson, Joetta Clark, Marty Liquori and many, many others. Finally, most would be surprised and happy to know that O.J. Simpson in 1992 and George Steinbrenner in 1995 made major financial contributions to the Foundation.