The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 18, 2006

‘Financial Football’ coming to W.Va. high schools, libraries

By Fred Pace

If you ask a high school student which is more fun, finance and economics or football, most will say football. Now there will be a way for students to have fun with both at the same time.

Former Marshall football star and current NFL All-Pro wide receiver Troy Brown of the New England Patriots will team up with West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue and Visa USA to kick off the statewide roll out of “Financial Football,” an interactive money management football computer game and high school curriculum that is coming to every high school and library in the state.

“To help West Virginia high school students take control of their financial futures, on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., Troy Brown, West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue and Visa USA will announce the first ever statewide roll out of ‘Financial Football’ at Capital High School in Charleston,” said Steve Burke, who is promoting the event for Visa USA.

Burke says the interactive, money-management game and curriculum can help Mountain State students “cross the real life money goal line.”

“The game combines the structures and rules of the NFL with financial questions of varying difficulty,” Burke explained. “It’s an initiative to promote youth financial literacy.”

Financial Football puts students’ fiscal knowledge to the test in an online football simulation environment where they have to answer money-management questions correctly to score points. Students answer questions like “What’s a PIN number?,” “What should you do if you don’t get a receipt from an ATM?” and “What number do you divide by to calculate your annual salary?”

“It’s designed to make personal finance learning both fun and engaging for students,” Burke said. “Financial Football is also a free one-week, five-part financial literacy curriculum designed for high school instruction.”

As the result of a pilot program, the West Virginia Treasurer’s Office has agreed to distribute Financial Football to every West Virginia high school and library, Burke added.

The program was developed in cooperation with the NFL and Players INC, Burke said.

“It incorporates lessons taught through Practical Money Skills for Life, a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and approved money-management program,” Burke said. “This game is currently the centerpiece of a national Visa/NFL initiative to get young people excited about their financial futures.”

The site provides teachers with lesson plans, interactive games and calculators designed to teach responsibility and concepts such as earning, saving and budgeting money, according to Burke.

Statistics support financial literacy programs, Burke added, which show that nationally 60 percent of preteens do not know the difference between cash, credit cards and checks, and that many high school students cannot pass a basic financial exam.

- To play Financial Football, visit http://www. practicalmoneyskills.com/english/at_school/training camp/.

- To watch a short highlight video of this education initiative, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= WfHpQuo kuAA.

— E-mail: fpace@register-herald.com