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NFL players to attend Harvard and Wharton Business Schools

The National Football League and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have entered into agreements with Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania...

NEW YORK (March 3, 2005) -- The National Football League and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have entered into agreements with Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to provide business education to NFL players. This program is part of an ongoing NFL-NFLPA initiative to assist players in preparing for their post-playing careers.

As part of its custom executive education activities, Harvard Business School (HBS) has developed a customized workshop targeted to the needs of NFL players interested in owning, operating or building their own businesses. The Wharton Sports Business Initiative (WSBI) and Wharton Executive Education have collaborated to develop a combination classroom and field-based workshop. It focuses on personal investments as well as entrepreneurial opportunities for players transitioning from their football careers. Both three-day programs begin in April. The HBS program concludes with an additional three-day session in May. The Wharton program offers follow-up with a year-long support program.

Each program is open to 35 players, with priority based upon years of NFL experience and business background. Tuition for both programs will be covered by the NFL's Tuition Reimbursement Program. Veteran players may be reimbursed up to $15,000 per league year for education expenses at an accredited institution of higher learning.

"Providing our players with business training for the post-playing phase of their lives is an important priority," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"This is one of many important steps that the union is taking to assist NFL players in their lives off the playing field," said Buffalo Bills cornerback Troy Vincent, who is president of the NFL Players Association.

"I am delighted to help shape and deliver this highly interactive, original and practical program for NFL players," said Professor Carl Kester, senior associate dean and chairman of the MBA Program at Harvard Business School. "The program we have designed will be a truly transformational educational experience for participants at this exciting and critical juncture in their careers."

Wharton School Dean Patrick Harker stated, "We are proud to be at the forefront of such a unique educational opportunity. This is precisely the type of high level project we anticipated for the newly launched Wharton Sports Business Initiative."

"I know first hand how challenging it is to begin that second career. We are delighted that we are able to provide this additional assistance to players," added NFL Vice President of Player and Employee Development Mike Haynes, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who took executive education classes during his playing career.

The Wharton curriculum will focus on a broad range of business topics, including financial analysis, entrepreneurship, real estate development, stock market investing, negotiation skills, risk management, and community reinvestment. Following the coursework, players will participate in a program in which faculty will visit players to provide advice, counseling, and additional business and personal planning tactics.

The Harvard Business School curriculum is grounded in the school's general management expertise. Designed in two three-day modules delivered a month apart, the workshop allows participants to use the intervening time to work on assignments leading to the development of business and investment ideas of their own. In addition to learning fundamental skills in a classroom setting, workshop participants will spend time with faculty and professionals to deepen their knowledge and refine their ideas.

The Wharton program will be led by Professor and Sports Business Initiative (WSBI) Director Kenneth L. Shropshire and Senior Fellow Dr. Jason Wingard. The Harvard Business School workshop, chaired by Professor Carl Kester, will be taught by professors from HBS's Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, well known for encouraging outreach and interaction with entrepreneurial individuals and organizations worldwide.

For nearly a century, Harvard Business School faculty have drawn on their passion for teaching, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and the insights gained from their research to educate generations of leaders who have shaped the practice of business in every industry and every country around the world. Located on a 35-acre campus in Boston, the School offers full-time programs leading to MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 40 executive education programs.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized around the world for its academic strength across every major discipline and at every level of business education. Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school in the nation, Wharton has approximately 4,600 undergraduate, MBA, Executive MBA and doctoral students, more than 8,000 participants in its executive education programs annually, and an alumni network of more than 80,000 worldwide.

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