Blog Entry

Rookie symposium to help players with money

Posted on: June 28, 2011 8:49 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 9:57 am
L. Ellis had to file for bankruptcy last year despite making $20 million during his career (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The NFLPA, even in the face of a lockout that hopefully will be over next month, will conduct a rookie symposium today in Bradenton, Fla., and the key piece of the advice will be NOT TO BE STUPID WITH YOUR FREAKIN’ MONEY!!!!

According to Alex Marvez of, the rookies will attend a 90-minute seminar in which they will learn to be prudent in the way they spend their salary the first couple of years in the league. In fact, they’ll be advised not to make any big financial decisions or spend any significant amount of money for, at least, their rookie season.

“These players have a tendency to get approached by a lot of people, family and friends,” Karl McDonnell, the COO of Strayer University, told Marvez. “We’ve actually drafted a letter they can use that says, ‘I’m going to take the next year getting used to being in the NFL. I’m not going to make any major commitments,’ just to give them a little breathing room.

“One of the things we want these young players to realize is the decisions they make in the next 1-2 years are really going to impact their lives forever. We want them to get off to a good start.”

After the NFL canceled its annual symposium because of the lockout, the NFLPA took the liberty of scheduling one on its own. It’s estimated that about half of the incoming rookies will attend.

Honestly, that’s probably very disappointing to the trade association -- and I think’s Mike Freeman would agree -- since, as Freeman reports, the NFLPA would pick up all rookies’ travel costs.

Especially when they could hear from a former player like Luther Ellis, a first-round pick for the Lions in 1995 who squandered $20 million during his 11-year career and had to file for bankruptcy in 2010. Ellis (pictured at right), who will speak at the symposium, points to his rookie season as the beginning of his downfall.

“The biggest thing that took us down the path of bankruptcy was being overextended to the point that I was counting on future earnings that didn’t happen and being involved in businesses that I shouldn’t have been involved with,” he said. “As good as the opportunities maybe seemed, if I would have put that money aside and just earned a modest interest rate of 6-7 percent, I’d be so much further ahead right now. And then I would have had the chance to sit back and look at what are the real opportunities, my personal passions, my wife’s personal passions and (decide) the things we want to be involved in. It would have changed our whole future.”

If I might add my two cents (though I realize I haven’t been invited to speak at the symposium and I only had to take one math class in college -- statistics, but I got a B!!!)), here is my advice: Don’t buy an expensive car.

When you walk through a NFL players' parking lot, you see a ton of fancy rides; and one of the guys who played for the Bengals who we knew could least afford a six-figure car, was the one who had multiple cars of that nature. His lifestyle was totally dependent on him staying on a NFL team, and he’ll be a real question mark to make a squad this year.

Don’t buy something that loses so much of its value when you drive off the lot. Just don’t buy an expensive new car right away.

“Really it comes down to discipline of not overextending yourself,” McDonnell said. “Anyone who comes into a large sum of money, there’s a temptation to do that.”

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 5:58 am

Rookie symposium to help players with money

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 2, 2012 4:39 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:40 pm
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 30, 2011 5:31 pm
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Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 11:54 am

Rookie symposium to help players with money

I won't buy a house until prices dip more and I can buy one outright. 

WTF? Good luck with that or your 25,000 dollar shack. I agree with no interest purchases off of credit cards and college students at least making a dent in there loan while working during college, but college is not cheap and loans are unavoidable for a majority of students going to school out of highschool. This is comparing apples to oranges though. We are not talking average students and americans. We are talking about management of one of the highest paying jobs in the US. I would give them the option to put yearly earnings in a trust fund with incentives that they can not touch until after retirement. Cut down the amount they can spend and then they MIGHT learn how to manage their assets. Doubt any of them would go for it though. At that age and exposure, most of it is about status to them.

Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:13 am

Rookie symposium to help players with money

The same can be said of everyone.  That's why we have the problems we have today in America.  The federal government refuses to spend within its means.

Homebuyers count on future earnings at an increased rate over time.  The worst are the college students, they don't even have jobs but they are counting on future jobs at high rates to justify the loan debt.

I don't buy anything on credit that I can't pay off without paying interest on it.  That is I will buy things on my credit card for convenience, but I always pay off the full balance every month.  I won't buy a house until prices dip more and I can buy one outright. 

Nobody can guarantee their earnings 5 years in the future, so why do so many people think it's an intelligent thing to pay interest on that? 

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