ATLANTA-More than 90 students from Historically Black College & Universities (HBCU) participated in the third annual NFL Careers in Football Forum as part of the Air Force Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia last month.
“The NFL Careers in Football Forum aims to drive awareness of career opportunities and create access that may lead to employment in sport,” said Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations. “This forum connects opportunity with potential. The more diversity and inclusion of people, skills and ideas, the better the game of football.”
The NFL Careers in Football Forum is an extension of the NFL’s broader partnership with the HBCUs. Through this effort students from participating institutions are given the opportunity to learn about preparations and skills needed to secure employment in all aspects of the business and administration of professional football.
“Once again, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) is honored to partner with the NFL to provide opportunities for our students during the week of the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl for the third consecutive year,” said Dr. Dennis E. Thomas, commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. “Having the opportunity to network and dialogue with NFL front office, human resource, and team personnel in an intimate setting is an invaluable experience which should benefit our students in their future employment opportunities.”
Participants engaged in a panel discussion moderated by ESPN’s Lachina Robinson. Panelists included Carolina Panthers Associate Counsel Ese Ighedosa, Baltimore Ravens Manager of Advertising and Branding Deandra Duggans, and Tron Stamper, manager of events at Mercedes Benz Stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. The administrators provided the students with personal accounts of their journey from college graduate to team executives.
“The Southwestern Athletic Conference is extremely excited to continue partnering with the National Football League (NFL) and the Careers in Football Forum,” said Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner (SWAC) Dr. Charles McClelland.
“The experience gained by all the participants involved goes a very long way in helping to enhance the overall knowledge and tools needed to build a solid foundation in this particular area of sports administration,” McClelland added. “Over the course of the past few years, the NFL has continued to provide aspiring young professionals with a variety of avenues to be involved with the sport and this joint venture is one that we look forward to continuing to grow and cultivate for the advancement of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and HBCU institutions.”
While at the forum, participants also competed in a group case study. The students were grouped into eight teams in November and provided individual topics to solve. Each group presented their case study to a panel of NFL and club executives. The first and second place finishers were recognized during a dinner reception held at the College Football Hall of Fame.
Additionally, select students won the opportunity to complete different experiences at the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando, FL, and Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, GA.
Since 2016, the NFL Careers in Football Forum has introduced more than 180 students and entry-level athletic department administrators from 23 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference institutions to career opportunities in professional football. This year’s forum was extended to include students from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).