2 03 2010

The professional football player often obtains an education with one goal in mind: the NFL.  But after an athlete has played his last season, and the money has stopped rolling in, their lack of an academic education is quickly noticed.

Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania teamed up to create a program that teaches former football players the value of an education off the field.

NFL Players Attend Wharton School of Business (image via

More than 80 current and former NFL players attend the program, in which they study everything from real estate to entrepreneurship, The Wall Street Journal’s FINS reports.  Since its conception in 2005, the program has churned out more than 5oo graduates.

Chris Henry, director of NFL player development, explained to FINS the necessity of a program geared to former athletes:

There were a number of players who would be contacted about business opportunities.  We wanted an opportunity to educate players about the complexities about going into business so they could make better financial decisions.

But the program has done more than advise players on making wise financial decisions; it has also sparked a drive that many former NFL athletes hadn’t felt since they walked away from their lifelong passion.

Vikings' Tight End Jeff Dugan Is Getting His MBA (image via

Several graduates exit the Harvard/Wharton program with plans to get their MBA.  Players including, current Minnesota Vikings tight end Jeff Dugan, former New York Giants fullback Greg Comella, and former Denver Broncos lineman Lennie Friedman,  have each enrolled at business schools such as Northwestern’s Kellog School of Business and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

And the transition from field to finance makes sense for NFL stars.  These players have spent their lives putting in enormous effort for serious results that pay off in the end.  It only makes sense that they would continue this hard work in another arena.

As Harvard professor and Amherst College football alumnus Carl Kester told FINS,

I don’t want to overstate this, but many of these players have the raw ingredients that go into being good business leaders. They’re very competitive people who aren’t afraid to take risks.

The real question is if these raw ingredients will translate into raw cash.

We will just have to wait and see.




One response

2 03 2010
Sean Callanan

Great post it is so important for athlete’s to maximize their opportunities when playing as that time may be short. Understanding business will help them take control of their post-athletic career.

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