NFL players to tackle franchising at Michigan Ross April 17-20


Hard work. Dedication. Teamwork. There are many parallels between winning in sports and winning in business, and a number of professional football players go on to enjoy successful second careers off the field. While professional athletes possess skills that can help them succeed as entrepreneurs, many are unaware of the opportunities available or don’t know how to get started.

Melanie Weaver Barnett,
Chief Executive Education Officer

To help overcome these stumbling blocks, Michigan Ross Executive Education, NFL Player Engagement, and the International Franchise Association (IFA) have teamed up to offer NFL Boot Camp: Franchising to NFL players and their significant others. 22 current and former NFL players – including Pro Bowlers Drew Brees, Devin Hester, and Wes Welker – will gather at Michigan Ross April 17-20 to learn from professors, franchise owners, former players, and executives from the IFA.

View photos from the event

The Lineup

A panel of former NFL players with franchise ownership experience will share their unique perspectives on making the transition from athlete to entrepreneur. Tim Biakabutuka (Go Blue!), franchise owner of Bojangles; Angelo Crowell, franchise owner of Jersey Mike’s Subs; and Van Jakes, franchise owner of McDonald’s, will be on hand to share their stories and answer questions.

Michigan Ross faculty will introduce a “playbook” and lead practice “drills” to allow participants to develop their business skills in the classroom. Francine Lafontaine, William Davidson Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy and professor of economics, will serve as faculty director, assisted by other Ross faculty. Lafontaine is co-author of The Economics of Franchising and a leading academic expert on franchise performance, business creation, and survival, making her an ideal coach for aspiring franchisees.

Michigan Ross Custom Executive Education Programs

The school is accustomed to developing programs for organizations’ specific needs. Ross Custom Executive Education Programs are tailored to fit the unique needs of organizations in any industry, from finance to retail and everything in between.

"Our faculty have significant experience creating customized learning experiences for executives and organizations," said Melanie Weaver Barnett, Chief Executive Education Officer at the Ross School of Business. "It has been rewarding to work with the NFL's Player Engagement arm to co-create this practical and meaningful learning experience for players and their significant others who are considering franchise businesses as they enter their post-playing career."

NFL Boot Camp: Franchising intends to help these players and their significant others to stay on top of their game through their football careers and beyond. We wish them much success in achieving their goals both on and off the field.

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