It may be the off season, but some NFL players are stilling putting in hours. Almost 100 NFL players enrolled in the 2009 NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program, part of the NFL and the NFLPA’s efforts to prepare players for their post-playing careers. Since the program’s inception in 2005, over 400 players have participated in the sessions that take place at 4 prestigious business schools: the Harvard School of Business, Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Courses started in late February and continue until early April, depending on the site. In addition, the curriculum at each campus differs, as it is related to each school’s specialty. Here’s a brief description of the focus areas at the UPENN program:
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania: The Wharton program focuses on a broad range of business topics, including financial analysis, entrepreneurship, real estate development, stock market investing, negotiation skills, risk management, and community reinvestment. Attendees work on directed as well as individual real estate, entrepreneurial and personal finance projects during the month between the program’s two sessions.
Players must apply to the program; applications are judged on criteria including previous education, leadership in the community, business experience, and interest in owning or managing a business. In addition, the cost of the program is covered, as if these guys couldn’t afford it. In fact, the under the current CBA, players can be reimbursed up to $15,000 a year for education at accredited institutions.
Players have the opportunity to explore a multitude of topics and opportunities that they can look to when their days on the field are over. Drew Brees, who previously attended the program at the Wharton School, was among the players that showed up at Stanford this year. Despite being in the middle of a 6-year, $60 million contract with the Saints, the star quarterback has shown a dedication to preparing for life after football. Like Brees, Jaguars offensive linemen Maurice Williams is returning to the program; after attending the Stanford program in 2007, the veteran has enrolled in this year’s program at Wharton. But the list of attendees doesn’t just include veterans; young guns like Brady Quinn will also take part in the educational opportunity.
The average NFL career lasts about 3.5 seasons. The average NFL salary in 2008 was $1.1 million. You do the math. It’s extremely important for players to be thinking about life-after-football. This is a program that all NFL agents should push their clients to attend.
Check out the section about the Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program on the NFL’s website, along with other player development topics