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From Training Camp to Franchising Boot Camp :: Video

5/7/2013 --

NFL players and spouses get in-depth look at franchising during three-day program at Ross School of Business.

Video :: Jason Avant, Philadelphia Eagles receiver and former U-M star, talks about his key takeaways from the NFL Franchising Boot Camp at Ross.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After a pro football player hangs up the cleats, what kind of business should he hang his future on?

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business, NFL Player Engagement, and the International Franchise Association huddled up to give current and former NFL players and their spouses a crash course on a common path to running a small business — franchising.

The first NFL Franchising Boot Camp introduced more than 20 players and spouses to the opportunities and potential pitfalls of franchising, with sessions on finance, legal considerations, risk assessment, and strategy from Ross Executive Education faculty. Franchisors and franchisees also shared their expertise.

Ross Professor Francine Lafontaine, faculty director of the program, said the goal was to expose players to franchising so they could make an informed decision on whether or not it was for them.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant, a former U-M football standout, said the boot camp was an eye-opener on what it takes to make it not only in franchising, but in business.

FI see so many examples of pro athletes going broke and not applying themselves when they have the opportunity to take advantage of NFL programs like the one here at Ross," he says. "This program was really useful. One of the things I learned was that you have to be at your business. You have to be present and have the right systems and infrastructure in place. You need great advisers and lawyers. You probably should go back to school to learn some accounting if you don't have that background. I plan to do that."

The program kicked off with a keynote by Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, a former player who won a title with the Baltimore Colts and used his bonus money to open the first Hardee's franchise. He said NFL players have a cachet that can help them in business, but they have to deliver and work hard if they want to be a franchisee.

"People gravitate to you and people who played in the NFL," he said. "That shield (the NFL logo) has economic value. You can use it, but for a limited amount of time. You have to deliver on your commitment."

While Richardson represents a franchising success story, the players also heard from an NFL veteran who didn't make it franchising. Former star running back Jamal Lewis, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, shared some of the risks involved in franchising and the lessons he learned from his attempt in the business.

Below are photos and daily recaps from NFL Player Engagement:

Day 1

Day 2

Days 3 and 4

— Terry Kosdrosky

For more information, contact:
Terry Kosdrosky, (734) 936-2502,