Last spring, Stormi Leonard and I were blessed by Ouachita to receive the opportunity to intern with NFL agent and Ouachita alum Chris Turnage. During our internship, we had the opportunity to go to the University of Arkansas pro day, work the pro day here at Ouachita, attend the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and assist Chris during the NFL Draft. I also received a grant from Ouachita to attend the Sports Lawyers Association 43rd Annual Conference in Denver this summer.
Going to the NFL Combine was definitely the highlight of last semester’s internship. The first night in Indianapolis, we went straight to a seminar on sports analytics. The next day, we hung out with a lot of NFL players and networked with other sports agents. We went to the Adidas, Nike and Eastbay suites while Chris’ clients were interviewed and received a bunch of free gear (that we helped carry). We also got to hang out in the Michael Johnson Performance Suite and have dinner with Drew Morgan. On our last day in Indianapolis, we watched a day of the NFL Combine in Lucas Oil Stadium. Last year marks the first year that fans were let into the stadium during the combine, and I am super thankful that Stormi learned about this opportunity and found a way to get us in. After seeing a day of the combine, we went to an NFL Player’s Association seminar on player representation and then flew back to Arkansas that night.
Assisting Chris during the NFL Draft was also incredible. Stormi and I made posters of depth charts of every NFL team for different positions of players that Chris represents. These depth charts helped Chris determine where his players were most needed, so he could encourage teams to draft or sign his clients. It was super interesting (and also a little stressful) to see Chris make hundreds of calls and negotiate with teams. By the end of the night, Chris had found a spot on an NFL team for each of his clients.
The two pro days were great experiences, as well. At the University of Arkansas event, I got to see how a pro day is run, and I got to see some of my favorite Arkansas Razorback football players up close and personal. Stormi and I even got to eat with Deatrich Wise and JaMichael Winston at Tacos4Life afterwards! Working pro day here at Ouachita, we helped administer the Wonderlic test to aspiring NFL players from small colleges around the state and assist the scouts in organizing their paper work. Networking with the scouts was an awesome opportunity, and I developed a better understanding of what working as an NFL scout is like.
Going to the Sports Lawyers Association’s 43rd Annual Conference was an extremely insightful experience. I was the only undergraduate student there, and I was able to network with sports lawyers, law professors and law students from around the world. On the first day, I attended panels on recent legal developments in sports, anti-doping in sports, the NCAA and sports media. The next day I had breakfast with an NFL lawyer, a sports agent from China and a law student from Oregon. I attended panels on ethics in sports, sports crisis management, eSports, combat sports, team counsel work and university counsel work. On the last day, I attended a forum of general counsels from different sports leagues, a forum of executive directors from different players associations and a panel on breaking into the sports law industry, where I had the opportunity to do a lot of networking.
I am so grateful to Ouachita to have received these opportunities this past year. Without these opportunities, I would have much less knowledge about the sports law industry. I don’t believe any other university in the country would have been so generous in giving me these opportunities. Ouachita really did “show me the money.”
*Lead photo by Marianne O’Leary
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