PHOENIX — A West Valley high school found a way to exercise the financial fitness for some of their student-athletes.
On Monday, the Centennial High School football players put their helmets and picked up papers describing a new position they’ve likely never played before.
Like Dylan Roberts, a starting defensive tackle who’s committed to playing with the Northwestern Wildcats after he graduates.
On this day, he’s a “graphic designer” who makes $60,000 a year and has fake children that need day care.
Each student was given a sheet detailing their job, salary, family status, and student loan payments.
Then they went to different centers around the cafeteria that represent life’s everyday costs like housing and health care, to see if they can afford to keep their finances in line.
When ask if Dylan had enough money, he laughed and said “No. I mean, barely. I ended up with $15 dollars,”
There are even surprise expenses if you can get passed “the wheel of life,” where some students were diagnosed with fake yet expensive appendicitis.
The exercise was put on by The Arizona Council of Economic Education.
They realize talking about Roth IRAs and 401K’s with high school students can be a challenge to keep them engaged in the TikTok-era.
So no better to hear about the importance of money management than from an NFL Linebacker, like Brandon Copeland.
“When I came into the NFL I started hearing a lot of information, I was like why am I hearing this for the first time now?” said the University of Pennsylvania graduate.
Now with college athletes able to benefit from their name, image, and likeness, known broadly in college sports as NIL deals, Copeland urges the next generation of athletes to read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.
Sites like Opendorse simplify the way companies and sponsors find athletes to partner with.
The University of Arizona and Arizona State University have dozens of student-athletes with information and services they’re willing to do for a price. Things like sign autographs or posting to social media.
”The scary thing about (NIL) is, when you don’t understand your money, you can fall victim to bad actors,” Copeland said.
Finding reliable guidance on how to manage money may isn’t always easy.
Elena Zee with Arizona Council for Economic Education is trying to change that with events like these. ”Parents tell us they feel more comfortable talking to kids about sex and drugs than money,” she said.
Outside of this financial fitness exercise, Dylan learned life can come at you fast.
He’s already talking about NIL deals. “It has definitely opened up a lot of doorways, and I’ve already had people talk to me about stuff like that,” said Dylan.
For those who don’t have the luxury of hearing Copeland in a high school auditorium, the NFL journeyman offers his financial expertise through a podcast called ‘Money, Music, Culture.”