Wharton and NFL partner for high school business boot camp

The odds of a high school athlete making it to the pros are miniscule, but for the select group of elite players who have the potential to play at the professional level, the Wharton School and the NFL are partnering to give them a leg up on how to handle business and life issues.  

The NFL-Wharton Prep Leadership Program is a three-day workshop that will provide top-notch high school athletes with leadership training and instruction from Wharton professors and NFL executives. The program, held June 25 to 27 at the Wharton School, will provide student athletes with a crash course in business and personal finance, the role of financial advisors, and development of leadership skills.

“We’re certainly not promising them the world in a three-day program, but it’s a beginning,” says Kenneth Shropshire, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton and faculty director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative (WSBI).

Applications to the program are being accepted at the WSBI website through Thursday, March 15. The program is open to male and female athletes who play any sport—not just football—and will be seniors during the 2012-13 school year.

Thirty-six student athletes will be selected based upon academics, athletic experience, leadership activities, coach and teacher recommendations, and personal essays.

Shropshire says by reaching out to student athletes early, the program hopes to give them the tools they need to handle the pressures and temptations of the life of a professional athlete. Students will also learn about leadership, inside and outside of athletics.

“There was great leadership potential in people like [former New York Knick and New Jersey Senator] Bill Bradley, [Penn alumnus and Intel Corporation Director] Dave Pottruck, and President Barack Obama—people who were involved in sports and went on to be leaders,” he says.

The Prep Leadership Program is an extension of Wharton’s Executive Education Program with the NFL. Started in 2005, the executive program is aimed at helping former professional athletes transition from the sports world to the business world.