Thursday, May 9, 2013

LSU professor created a program to help former NFL athletes.

According to an article written in a 2009 Sports Illustrated magazine, 78 percent of former NFL players had gone bankrupt or were under financial stress because of divorce or no job within two years of retirement. Even if this statistic is a bit inaccurate, we all know the history of athletes’ bad decision-making throughout their careers.

Thomas Karam, a marketing professor at Louisiana State University (LSU),  developed a program to help former NFL players transition into their post-NFL lives, hoping he can prevent many others from becoming statistics. Karam’s program is called “The Program on Personal Branding”. It is a three-day seminar in which former NFL players participate in workshops where they learn management skills, how to successfully build their brand and how to conduct a job interview.  

Instead of focusing on money management, the program is designed to teach these players how to fix their personal brand by analyzing their past decisions and what they could have done to better leverage their time in the NFL.

“These athletes had so much star power and credibility when you played in the league, and they messed it up,” Karam said. “They just didn’t leverage [their brand] when they were in the league. They didn’t do the autograph they should have done. They didn’t give a speech they could have given. … They didn’t do the simple things that they wish they would have done, but they didn’t.”

It took Karam years to get LSU to buy into his program.

“That’s a lot of failure,” Karam said. “Probably three times a month I would try to sell it. … It took 11 years to convince LSU to do it, which I guess means I’m a bad salesman.”

Starting two years ago, Karam’s marketing program has been so successful that LSU football coach Les Miles requested a similar program dedicated to LSU athletes.

With an athletic program similar to that of Karam’s, many young guys can gain wisdom and hopefully won’t run into the same problems many former athletes have experienced.
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