•  

    Ja’Michael Edwards-Lott is Trailblazing his way to the NFL by Building his own Brand

                     

    By Aaron Randolph

     

    “I realized early on that I could make a name for myself and take advantage of my on-field opportunities and turn that into more off the field opportunities, I want to change the world with my abilities on the field, I want to be Ja’Michael the hall of fame football player who opened the door for thousands of kids.”

     

    Former collegiate football player, Ja’Michael Edwards-Lott, is creating a unique path to pursue his dreams of playing professional football by creating his own brand. Through hard work and perseverance, Lott negotiated his own contract to play professional football in Finland for the Seinäjoki Crocodiles.

     

    Lott played college football at Nicholls State University after transferring from Grambling State University, where he suffered a season ending injury that ultimately led to him being released from the football team. While enrolled as a student-athlete at Nicholls State, he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies and managed to make the Dean’s List before graduating.  

     

    Surprisingly, Lott didn’t start playing football until the age of 13. During his high school years, despite the individuals around him who didn’t believe he had the athletic ability to play college football, he performed well enough to receive a scholarship to play for a Division 1 football program. Understanding early on that nothing was going to be given to him, Lott utilized every opportunity that was presented to him in order to market himself as a NFL prospect. In his junior year, when Lott was on the field, he recorded 20 tackles; including 12 solo tackles with one going for a loss. Although he didn’t receive much playing time during his senior year, that didn’t stop Ja’Michael from pursuing his dream to play professional football. After negotiating his own contract, he signed with the Seinäjoki Crocodiles in Finland to play this upcoming year in May. To prepare for this upcoming season, Ja’Michael has been working out at Dynamic Sports in Houston. He does warm-ups, high-intensity integral training, speed work and agility work that helps his on the field performance.

     

     

    Being an athlete carries its own magnitude. Lott doesn’t see himself as just an athlete but also an entrepreneur. Through his platform of football, he intends to create his own brand that will set himself up for opportunities on and off the football field.  Lott wants to create a brand that could provide an outlet for undrafted players that could play football in Europe and earn a contract with the National Football League.

     

    “I realized early on that I could make a name for myself and take advantage of my on-field opportunities and turn that into more off the field opportunities, I want to change the world with my abilities on the field, I want to be Ja’Michael the hall of fame football player who opened the door for thousands of kids.”

     

    There have been football players who play in Europe and the NFL. Dante Hall, David Akers, James Harrison, Kurt Warner, and Jake Delhomme. Lott wants to become the next great football story who went from playing professional football in Europe to the National Football League. As far as his life after football, he intends to go into sports broadcasting. Lott wants to become a football analyst like the various retired football players who appear on networks like ESPN, NBC, CBS and FOX.

     

     

    At the age of 23, Ja’Michael is creating a path that will be different from the normal path that most players take to become a professional football player. He is going to have a story that will stand out from other football players. He used the opportunities that were given to him no matter how big or small. Using his platform, he hopes to be an inspiration to thousands of people that want to chase their dreams of going pro or being an entrepreneur. Ja’Michael proves that working hard and putting God first can help anyone achieve any goal they set for themselves. He has also earned an endorsement deal with a men’s grooming company called Millen Heirs. 

     

    In the future, Lott wants to create homes for single parents and under privilege kids also become an advocate against gun violence.

     

    About Aaron Randolph, Contributing Sports Writer 

    Aaron Randolph was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia. He is currently a Class of 2018 Media Studies and Production major at Temple University. Aaron has always had a passion for media and sports production, as well as film production.  He is currently an intern for Fox 29 News and producer for a media company called MyNewPhilly. As he progresses throughout his career, he hopes to build a community center for at risk youth and women who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. 

    Twitter: @ForeverAcee

    Instagram: @_aaron20

     

    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

    Follow VCG Sports on Twitter and Instagram 

     

    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

     Www.millenheirs.com 

    MILLENHEIRS (@millen_heirs) • Instagram photos and videos

     

    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

    Follow S.D.F.L. on Twitter and Instagram

  •  

    The Transition: Life Beyond the Sport

     

    By Aaron Tyson

     

    The transition from an elite athletic figure to one's life beyond sports can present its challenges.

    Many are welcomed into professional athletics with open arms and a traveling fan base that can be traced back as far as sixth-grade. The drafted players are instantly identified as icons and hometown heroes — or better yet celebrities in today’s digital world. Even those who are undrafted are celebrated, having reached a level of playing competition that only a small percentage of collegiate athletes are able to achieve.

     

    According to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), out of the 480,000 participating collegiate athletes, only a select few have the opportunity to play professionally:

     

    ●      Men’s Basketball- 1.1%

    ●      Women’s Basketball- 0.9%

    ●      Football- 1.5%

    ●      Men’s Ice Hockey- 5.6%

    ●      Men’s Soccer- 1.4%

     

    Although the transition from college to the pros is seemingly different (athletes are paid), they also share common themes.

     

    Beyond the Sport

     

    There is a firm need for guidance and effective educational resources to prepare athletes for life after sports. Those who are aware of the potential struggles, whether it is a collegiate or professional athlete, usually have the ability to adapt and have a smoother transition away from the game. For many, sports has served as a career for the majority of their lives, not leaving much allotted time for a ‘real job’ to build a professional resume.

     

    Student-Athletes

     

    The onerous commitment student-athletes make to their respected programs is essentially a full-time job within itself. The rigorous schedule of a Division 1 basketball program looks something like this during the week:

     

    Monday

     

    6am - 7am- Workout/treatment

    7:15am- 8am - Eat (some go back to sleep before class)

    8am - 11am- Classes

    11:15am - 2pm- Lunch, individual film sessions

    2:30pm - 4:30pm- Practice

    4:45pm - 5:45pm- Dinner

    6pm- Team Meeting/Team Film

    7pm- Study hall

     

    Schedules vary depending on the program, but this is a general structure of what the average day is like for a Division 1 athlete.

     

    As you can see, there is very little, if any, room to focus on building their resume to prepare for life after sports—especially for those who aren’t called to compete professionally. The NCAA has rules in place to govern outside employment and internships for athletes, prohibiting any potential career building opportunities during the season. However, athletes are allowed to work in the summer, but must get permission from the school and the NCAA first. Once approved, the student-athlete and their employer are required to fill out paperwork verifying that the student-athlete is actually working.

     

    Although, most collegiate athletic departments have Life Skills Departments in place to provide resources to prepare student-athletes for post-graduation, very few are unable to take full advantage of the resources and opportunities it provides due to their demanding schedules.

     

    This is where the post-career athlete employment gap begins.

     

    Professional Athletes

    Professional athletes, as stated before, are viewed as icons and celebrities to their fans. Financially rewarded with enough cash where life after sports isn’t even contemplated. The underlying reality is how long will all this last?

     

    On average, the National Football League loses about 450 players each year, due to injury, waived, cut, released, retirement, etc. On top of that, the average lifespan for an NFL player is 3-4 years.

     

    Many of those athletes stem from those large Division 1 football factories that produce NFL talent; under the same rigorous schedule that left little to know time for professional development. When careers are ended sooner than expected, those young men, who entered the NFL, are now grown men with families and children to provide for. Professional work experience is at a minimum and ‘Professional Athlete’ on their resume is only going to get them but so far with human resources without any relative skills to the position they are applying for.

     

    The NFL offers resources such as the Rookie Transition Program that introduces rookies to the NFL and the available resources to prepare for life after sports. Each club has a Player Engagement Director that is responsible for guiding current and former players through their off the field involvement and setting them up for post-career opportunities.

     

    Transitioning away from sports can present struggles, but it can be rewarding when properly guided and educated on how to prepare for a successful career away from the game.

     

    To be continued….

     

    About Aaron Tyson

    Aaron Tyson is the founder of VCG Sports. Prior to VCG Sports, he accumulated a diverse background in the sports industry having worked with organizations such as the NFL League Office, New York Giants, Philadlephia Phillies, MEAC Conference Office, and the Philadelphia Soul. He also received an Executive Certification in Sports Philanthropy from George Washington University. 

     

    Twitter: @aarontyson_

     

    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

    Follow VCG Sports on Twitter and Instagram 

     

     

    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

     Www.millenheirs.com 

    MILLENHEIRS (@millen_heirs) • Instagram photos and videos

     

    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

    Follow S.D.F.L. on Twitter and Instagram

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  •  

    Jeremy Stewart Looks to Succeed in the Business World with Wharton School MBA As He Did in the NFL

    Written by: Aaron Randolph

    Images: Jeremy Stewart

     

    Former NFL running back Jeremy Stewart has taken his talents from the football field to the classroom.  Stewart played in the National Football League for four years and is now enrolled as a full-time graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business majoring in Finance.

     

    Jeremy Stewart exceeded in football at the high school, collegiate, and professional level. Stewart had been playing since he was eight years old. During his high school years at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Stewart was first team all-state, all-district, and all-metro during his senior year. He played college football at Stanford University, where he had an excellent game during the 2011 Orange Bowl. He had five rushes for 99 yards and one touchdown leading his team to a 40-12 victory against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

     

    Once he finished his college career, Stewart went to the National Football League. During the 2012 Draft, he went undrafted but was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent. He had two short stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets. He was eventually released from both teams, but Stewart believed that the adversity of being released from two teams helped him deal with tough situations. Stewart also played for the Oakland Raiders for two seasons and played one season for the Denver Broncos.

     

     

    During his college days at Stanford, he was opened to various career opportunities and towards the end of his professional playing career. While being enrolled at Stanford, Stewart had a huge interest in going into business. During the third year of his NFL career, Stewart realized he wanted to go back to school. He attended a wedding where he met some people that exposed him to business school for the first time because they were currently enrolled. He also saw some of his college teammates during the off-season and watching them excel at business made him want to attend school as well. He didn’t want to be too old trying to attend school and going to business school is something that he believes has more upside because football does not last forever.

     

    The transition for Stewart wasn’t easy because he devoted most of his life to playing football. During his transition from football to school, he had to change his day to day life. Instead of making sure he was in shape to play football, he had to get his mind ready for business school. 

     

    Moving forward, Stewart has major plans on how he will utilize his MBA once he graduates. “The biggest thing for me is to improve my knowledge as an athlete, having that knowledge of how a business works gives me so much leverage in general.” Stewart intends to go into investment banking and the tech industry. He is already making important strides to accomplish those goals by investing in his wife’s software company. During the summer, he will be working in investment banking with a leverage finance group at Wells Fargo in San Francisco. He will be helping companies make investments and acquiring other companies. 

     

    Soon, Stewart would like to help other athletes with their financial issues and literacy. He had some advice for current players that are playing in the NFL. “My advice to them is to start planning ahead and start taking the steps to set yourself up for post-football.” Jeremy Stewart has used his platform of playing football to set himself up for the best position possible for life after football. Stewart was successful on the football field and now will look to attain the same success in the business world.

     

     

    About Aaron Randolph, Contributing Sports Writer 

    Aaron Randolph was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia. He is currently a Class of 2018 Media Studies and Production major at Temple University. Aaron has always had a passion for media and sports production, as well as film production.  He is currently an intern for Fox 29 News and producer for a media company called MyNewPhilly. As he progresses throughout his career, he hopes to build a community center for at risk youth and women who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. 

    Twitter: @ForeverAcee

    Instagram: @_aaron20

     

    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

    Follow VCG Sports on Twitter and Instagram 

     

    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

     Www.millenheirs.com 

    MILLENHEIRS (@millen_heirs) • Instagram photos and videos

     

    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

    Follow S.D.F.L. on Twitter and Instagram

  •  

    Darrell Walker Reenergizes Basketball Program at Clark Atlanta University Using NBA Experience 

    Clark Atlanta University Head Coach Darrell Walker against the Boston Celtics. Walker played with the New York Knicks from 1983-1986

     

    Words: Craig Allen Brown

    Images: Darrell Walker | CAU Athletics

     

    Former NBA player and coach Darrell Walker is using his experiences and compassion to significantly alter the lives of student-athletes at Clark Atlanta University.  His men’s basketball team is undergoing significant growth, in the classroom and on the hardwood.

     

    Darrell Walker excelled at basketball at the collegiate level under College Hall of Fame coach Eddie Sutton.  He twice led the University of Arkansas to the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament.  In his last year as a Razorback, Walker averaged 18.2 point and 5.7 rebounds, and was selected as both the Southwest Conference’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.  His play resulted in his selection as a first round pick of the New York Knicks. 

     

    Walker began coaching after a 10-year NBA career as a player, which culminated in an NBA championship alongside Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1993.  He served as a head coach for both the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards before going on to assistant coaching positions with the New Orleans Hornets, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.

     

    It was during these years as an assistant that Walker developed a desire to coach at the college level.  Along with being involved with the sport that he loved, Walker eagerly anticipated the opportunity to assist young men in achieving their college degrees.  Clark Atlanta University Athletic Director Lin Dawson valued the experience that Walker bought to the table as both an NBA player and coach, and subsequently offered him the men’s head coach position.

     

     

    Upon being hired, Walker immediately changed the face of the program.  Prior to his arrival, the CAU Panthers only managed nine wins throughout the 2015-2016 season.  However, Walker more than doubled that amount of wins during his first year.  His team finished the season with a seven-game winning streak, resulting in the best overall record in the conference, an SIAC tournament championship, and a berth in the NCAA Division II national tournament, before falling to top-seeded University of Alabama in Huntsville.

     

    Walker not only changed operations on the basketball court; he changed the way in which his players pursued their educations.  He randomly visits his players’ classes to ensure that they are attending regularly; disciplinary action is taken if a student-athlete is not present.  He also implemented an annual art auction, where he donates pieces from his own personal collection for auction-goers to bid on.  Funds raised during the auction are used to pay for summer school, to ensure his players graduate on time.

    Walker’s second year at the helm has proven to be even more fulfilling than his first.  After 19 games, the Clark Atlanta University Panthers are 18-1, and ranked #22 among Division II schools nationally.  The team is undefeated in conference and division play, and ranks in the top three in several conference statistical categories, including scoring offense, scoring defense, turnover margin and scoring margin.

     

    Despite all the success he has achieved on the court, Walker is most proud of his influence off of it.  “When you get a kid to come play for you, it’s important that they leave with a degree,” he said. 

     

    About Craig Allen Brown, Contributing Sports Writer 

    Craig Allen Brown was born in Ramstein, Germany. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Personnel Actions Specialist.  He served for 22 years, retiring in 2014.  Upon retirement, he enrolled at Clark Atlanta University, majoring in Mass Media Arts.  He will graduate with honors in May 2018.

    Twitter: @CraigAllen_21

    Instagram: @craigallen_21

     

    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achivements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

    Follow VCG Sports on Twitter and Instagram 

     

    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

     Www.millenheirs.com 

    MILLENHEIRS (@millen_heirs) • Instagram photos and videos

     

    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

    Follow S.D.F.L. on Twitter and Instagram

     

  •  

    WNBA Champion Yolanda Moore Changes the Culture at Clark Atlanta University

    Words: Craig Allen Brown

    Images: Yolanda Moore | Clark Atlanta University Athletics

     

    “I wanted them to believe differently about who they were and the value they have as people first, and as players second, and then to raise their level of expectation for themselves,”

     

    Yolanda Moore’s unorthodox ascent from a small, Southern town to WNBA champion was full of adversity.  Now, as the head coach of Clark Atlanta University’s women’s basketball team, she is teaching her student-athletes that championing life skills, not jump shots, is the key to success.

     

    Moore was raised in Port Gibson, Mississippi.  The youngest of six children, and the product of a single-parent home, life was not easy for her during her youth.  However, she was able to find refuge in the game of basketball.

     

    Despite having one of the most productive careers in the history of the University of Mississippi women’s basketball, Moore was not drafted into the WNBA.  However, she was not going to allow that to deter her dream of playing professionally.  Her college coach, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Van Chancellor, advised her not to try out for the Houston Comets, the WNBA team he had recently became the head coach of.  Moore did not take heed to her former coach’s advice.  Although recovering from a third knee surgery and the birth of her second child only four months prior, she began the tedious process of training for the upcoming season.  She successfully rehabbed her knee, and lost over 50 pounds in four months.  “Chancellor really didn’t think I was ready,” she said.  “But I had been working out and rehabbing my knee. I went to Houston, competed, and earned a spot.” 

     

     

    With a roster that included Moore and WNBA greats Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson, the Comets won back-to-back WNBA championships in 1997 and 1998.  Unfortunately, knee injuries would continue to hinder her playing career.  After two more knee surgeries, Moore’s career as a professional basketball player came to an end.   

     

    However, her love for the game was in no way diminished. Equally important to her was an opportunity to provide mentorship to a group of students she felt would certainly benefit from it.  Moore concluded that coaching college basketball would be the perfect fit. 

     

    After stints at Louisiana State University Eunice and Southeastern Louisiana, Moore heard that there may soon be an opening for a women’s basketball coach at Clark Atlanta University.  Although she was anxious for an opportunity to relocate to Atlanta and coach again, she was more concerned about serving in a role that she felt God assigned.  “I prayed on it,” she said.  “My prayer was ‘God, if this is what you have for me, then put me in the place where you need me to be.’”  On May 1, 2017, Yolanda Moore was introduced as Clark Atlanta University’s women’s basketball coach.

     

    Moore has wasted no time in infusing CAU’s program with her winning methodology.  To date, her team has already surpassed the win total for last year’s team, with more than a month left in the season.  The Panthers are currently tied for first place in their division and in their conference.  CAU ranks second in scoring, second in scoring defense, and first in scoring margin in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference East.

     

    Moore commends the effort her student-athletes have made on the court, but attributes the team’s overall progress to their development off of the court.  “I wanted them to believe differently about who they were and the value they have as people first, and as players second, and then to raise their level of expectation for themselves,” Moore said.  “Our life goes as our thinking goes.  If I could get them to believe in themselves and believe in what they’re capable of, then the results will take care of themselves.”

     

    Moore’s experiences will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration for her players throughout her time at CAU.  Particularly because she did not allow life’s adversities to slow her down.  “There are no excuses.  Because of the things I’ve experienced - being a teen mom, having the babies in college, having the knee injuries in college,” she said.  “There were times when I would come home, the lights were off, or the water was off.  But I persevered.  So, you can’t bring the excuses to me.”

     

    About Craig Allen Brown, Contributing Sports Writer 

    Craig Allen Brown was born in Ramstein, Germany. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Personnel Actions Specialist.  He served for 22 years, retiring in 2014.  Upon retirement, he enrolled at Clark Atlanta University, majoring in Mass Media Arts.  He will graduate with honors in May 2018.

    Twitter: @CraigAllen_21

    Instagram: @craigallen_21

     

    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achivements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

    Follow VCG Sports on Twitter and Instagram 

     

    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

     Www.millenheirs.com 

    MILLENHEIRS (@millen_heirs) • Instagram photos and videos

     

    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

    Follow S.D.F.L. on Twitter and Instagram

     

  •  

    Grambling State University has Always Been Home to Former Houston Astro James Cooper 

    Words: Aaron Tyson

    Image: Grambling State University Athletics

     

     

    James Cooper’s initial commitment to Grambling State University began in 2000, where he would embark on the arduous journey of a student-athlete. Similar to the parade of accolades garnered by his then head coach ­­— American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer, Wilbert Ellis—Cooper’s athletic ability as an outfielder awarded him All-Conference and All-SWAC honors during his career. Unbeknownst, that would not be the last award he would be receiving as a member of Grambling State University’s baseball program.

     

    The same sacrifices, determination, and dedication that he would instill in his own student-athletes years later is what propelled him to be drafted in the 33rd round of the MLB draft in 2004.

     

    “I played two years of pro ball in the Houston Astros organization after being drafted from Grambling State University.”

     

    After being released by the Astros in 2006, the Sussex Seahawks favored Cooper, an Independent team in the CanAm Leaugue out of Sussex County, New Jersey, to play one more season. No stranger to the sacrifices and demand that transpire with being a professional athlete, he experienced one particular sacrifice that played a pivotal role in his decision to return to his alma mater.

     

    “When I went up to Sussex and played in the summer of 2007 my son had already been born. After finishing that year my son was seven years old and I wanted to be in his life more. Those last three years of playing pro ball I missed three of his birthdays.”

     

    These are the unannounced compromises and obstacles that professional athletes have to allocate when attempting to balance work and home. As spectators, we are infused by the media with information revolving around injuries, depth charts, front office personnel changes, autograph signings, and broken records — all for the sheer love of watching our favorite teams and athletes compete.  We don’t factor in that our enjoyment can mean someone else’s displeasure. Families are stripped away from their significant others, children, parents, and siblings for weeks and months on end.

     

    The thrills of ones sporting career can only last so long, like any other athlete you have to adjust to a new life and a new career. The transition for many can be difficult when they have been identified as an athlete practically their whole lives.  Every athlete possesses their own unique circumstances in which they attempt to find their purpose outside of athletic competition.

     

    “I wanted to be more active in my sons life so I enrolled into graduate school at Grambling in the fall of 2007 and received my Masters in Sports Administration May of 2008.”

     

    During this transition period for James, fate intervened, as Barret Rey took over the baseball program at Grambling.

     

    “He actually coached against me when I was a player. He was the assistant coach at Southern University and he offered me the position to be a graduate assistant because he knew I had just came back from playing pro ball.”

     

    Ironically, after three years of working under Barret Rey, Cooper was presented the opportunity to become the head coach after Coach Rey opted out to accept a vacant head coaching position at Alcorn State University to be closer to his family. After making his second commitment to Grambling's baseball programas head coach for the 2010 season, he set the tone right away during his introductory press conference letting the student-athletes know that respect between players and coaches will be reciprocal. Cooper also stressed the importance of determination and dedication on the field and in the classroom. His philosopy served him right, leading the Grambling Tigers to a SWAC Championship in 2010 and SWAC Coach of the Year honors—an award he received for the second time in 2017. 

     

    When asked if there was a certain attachment to Grambling, Cooper proudly said, “There is. It’s home for me, it's my alma mater and I would love to see my alma mater do great things. Some of the things I seen and learned from playing pro ball I want to instill in some of the players that have came after me.”

     

    Having been both a former pro athlete and a former Tiger, Cooper has a unique ability to connect with the student-athletes. Some don’t foresee a professional baseball career in their future, while others are driven to prove everyone who has ever doubted them wrong. Understanding both perspectives, Cooper, as head coach, has a fiduciary duty to be transparent when discussing life after sports.

     

    “We are honest with all 35 of the guys on the roster. We let them know that all 35 of you are not going to get an opportunity to play professional baseball and that’s fine. What you guys do have a chance to do is to possibly win a championship and graduate.”

     

    To help prepare his players for their transition away from collegiate athletics, Cooper utilizes various resources to help align them with jobs to make their transition as pleasant as possible. He also leverages his Major League Baseball connections for those who still want to be involved with the game of baseball.

     

    "We want our players to graduate and be a good provider for their family, a good husband to their wife, and also a good father to their kids in that order." 

     

     

    About Aaron Tyson

    Aaron Tyson is the Founder of VCG Sports. Prior to establishing VCG Sports in 2016, Aaron worked with organizations such as the NFL League Office, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, MEAC Conference Office, and the Philadelphia Soul. He also received an Executive Certification in Sports Philanthropy from George Washington University. 

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    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achivements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

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    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

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    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

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