Forbes: CBS NFL Analyst Bart Scott Can’t Wait To Save NFL Players Money
By Mark J. Burns
Bart Scott has heard the good, bad and ugly when it comes to athletes and their finances, but now that he is retired, the former New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens linebacker is looking to “change the narrative” over the course of his second career.
An undrafted player from Southern Illinois University in 2002, Scott remembers walking into his first apartment and thinking, ‘Hey, I’m an adult now. I bought this on my own. No one can help me. These bills are now going to come in my name. I’m not getting a stipend or anything. I’m a grown up, and now I’m responsible for me.’
With the realization comes the added pressures, like providing for a five-person family or on the other end of the spectrum, assisting 50-plus family members and friends. The current NFL Analyst on CBS said that he has heard from some players about their parents handing them an actual bill after they earn millions of dollars on NFL Draft Night. For Scott, it was the exact opposite message.
“You have some parents like mine who said, ‘The only thing you owe me now is bragging rights,’” said Scott, adding that it was a huge weight lifted from his shoulders when his parents said that following his entry into the NFL.
While the Detroit native can now regularly be seen co-hosting The NFL Today on CBS, the 36-year-old Scott has been putting his economics degree and financial acumen to the test over the past 18 months as an integral consultant of Morgan Stanley’s Global Sports and Entertainment division. Together with Drew Hawkins — Head of Global Sports and Entertainment — and nearly 85 other sports and entertainment directors, Scott helped launch a financial literacy program designed to educate student-athletes, rookies and NFL veterans about the importance of having a well-rounded financial game plan.
“We got tired of hearing the stories about individuals who made bad decisions or did not have the education or background. Or maybe they were taken by an unscrupulous advisor,” Hawkins said. “For us, we wanted to be able to change the game but do it in a way where we got to these individuals sooner.”
Added Scott: “You can be a high percentage decision maker when it comes to your finances but to do that, you can’t start thinking about finances when you first get a little bit of money; it’s too late. You have to be proactive and not reactive. You have to have a game plan. You need to draft your financial team of people who can help guide you through your journey.”
A big key for Hawkins and Scott is reaching athletes before they even get drafted and accumulate a large amount of wealth. That means flying around to dozens of schools, like the University of Connecticut and University of Maryland, for example, to empower student-athletes to make sound financial planning decisions.
According to Hawkins, the program is designed to be an informal back-and-forth conversation with the student-athletes where they discuss everything from budgeting and saving to the importance of credit and how to vet financial advisors as one progresses through his or her professional career.
“We can put real-life stories into the conversation and grab student-athletes’ attention,” Scott said.
The conversation with rookies or veterans at teams such as the Seattle Seahawks or Jacksonville Jaguars is no different. With the average NFL career at less than 3.5 years, players have to be smarter with their money now more than ever. Instead of becoming part of another statistic, such as 80 percent of NFL players go broke within the first three years of leaving the playing field, players have to be proactive in their financial approach, something Scott and Hawkins reiterated throughout the discussion.
“When you come out of college, you’re life is a worldwind, Hawkins said. “… It’s so important to get this foundation squared away before the Draft and Combine because your life changes so quickly. You don’t want to be getting your financials together on the fly and working on your budget then. … Athletes and entertainers are different clients.
“Their careers are different, the uncertainty of their income streams, the family pressures and pressures they get from friends. They have a lot of demands, and their affairs need to be managed by people who have a specific understanding of their needs.”