The Black Student-Athlete Summit may have happened last month, but the impact will continue long into the future. Klutch Sports president Rich Paul and NBA player turned podcaster Matt Barnes were among the sports professionals that spoke at the conference held this year at the University of Southern California.
Summit founder and executive director Dr. Leonard Moore was a graduate student at Ohio State when he determined Black student-athletes needed a way to transition into jobs after graduation. Last year’s event in Houston drew approximately 900, this year there were more than 1400 attendees from 185 schools.
“The organic growth of the Summit from a group of three-hundred people several years ago to the more than 1250 we will have at USC is nothing short of amazing,” Moore said via a press release before the event, which drew more than he originally predicted. “I am thrilled that leaders in college athletics now see the Summit as a must-attend event for student-athletes and professionals from their institution.”
Aside from Paul and Barnes, the four-day summit also brought administrators, athletic directors, coaches, and 88 former student-athletes who were working in various fields including tech and apparel. The NCAA sent eight HBCU Fellows, while Denison University sent 18 people and Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt attended with 28 students.
“We don’t use a lot of bells and whistles. We don’t use celebrities to attract people,” Moore told The Athletic. “And the thing with young people is, if they have a good time, they will go home and tell their friends and their coaches and ADs.”
The summit included panels like “Hairstyles, Tattoos, Piercings and Gold Teeth: How Do We Mentor?” A Pro Day connected students with former athletes who’ve found success in sports-related careers or different ones altogether.
Other panels included ones on Black athletes from Ivy League schools and how white coaches and athletic staffers can better connect with Black student-athletes and others on faith, personal branding, and purchasing real estate. The summit hopes to connect more HBCU students in 2024.
Moore, who is now at the University of Texas, is already working on the next one.
“I plan to visit a lot of schools over the next three or four months,” he said. “I told them I don’t want to come and speak; I just want to come hang out, go to lunch, and get a little bit closer to the student-athlete: What do they want to see at the summit? We think we’re good about incorporating.”
He added, “We’re trying to develop, between now and then, four boot camps — a Wall Street boot camp where we take kids to Wall Street for four or five days; a Silicon Valley boot camp; a Capitol Hill boot camp; and we’re planning a study-abroad program during spring break to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. That is what we want to do within the next 12 (months) before we come back together as a large group.”
You can find out more about the Black Athlete Student Summit here.
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