The University of Miami’s Business School for Athletes Is a Terrible/Great Idea

Hurricanes are returning to Florida to complete their education.
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Hurricanes are returning to Florida to complete their education.
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The

2001 Miami Hurricanes

football squad was better known for hanging out with 2 Live Crew than for outsized academic achievements, but team members have overcome their shortcomings to have fairly successful careers. Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, Andre Johnson, Ed Reed, Willis McGahee, Vince Wilfork, and Frank Gore - to pick just the most obvious examples - met with some success in the NFL. They made names for themselves and, when they were done with that, they made a lot of money. Now, most of them are retired and the

University of Miami

wants them to re-enroll.

It's not specifically the football players, but it's not 

not 

specifically the football players. The U's new

Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes

 kicks off in February because that's the NFL off-season. Eugene Anderson, Dean of Miami's Business School, makes no bones about that - though he insists the program isn't just recruiting former recruits.

"We felt a specialized MBA program for this group of individuals made a lot of sense for Miami," says Anderson, pointing out (correctly) that many athletes and artists congregate in southern Florida. "We think this program will provide a great opportunity for these individuals, many of whom in the past have run into financial trouble after their athletic careers, to succeed beyond their time in front of the camera."

The premise makes a cynical sort of sense. Having former Hurricanes pay to re-enroll in a school that made millions off their success without passing down a paycheck feels a bit like fool-me-twice, but it's better to be slightly hoodwinked by an institute of higher education than to make a series of bad investments that lead to bankruptcy and the sort of desperation that makes a 

gig selling Bud Light

 (Warren Sapp, '95) seem attractive. The list of broke Pro-Bowlers gets longer every year - ask Bernie Kosar ('85) about it.

"We think this program will provide a great opportunity for these individuals, many of whom in the past have run into financial trouble after their athletic careers, to succeed beyond their time in front of the camera," says Anderson. "This is an opportunity for these individuals to leverage their strong personal brands for business success."

Basically, the University of Miami is offering athletes and artists (presumably of the musical or theatrical variety given visual artists' penchant for poverty and obscurity) the chance to make money from being famous. And, yeah, that makes sense. In a brand-driven, social media-driven market, success and financial success don't necessarily run hand in hand. It is very possible to find an audience without finding a business plan and - to that end - the program sounds perfect. A class on accounting filled with pop stars and former wide receivers? Sounds great, albeit more from a networking than an educational standpoint.

Regardless, there is one amazing opportunity that the program will certainly offer: The chance to play on the single greatest grad school intramural team in the history of time. Hell, we'd watch that team play the actual Hurricanes. The U might be banking on that.

Photos by Lance King / Replay Photos via Getty Images