August 21, 2012
A look at the educational meetings
Football Camp: Behind The Scenes

Throughout preseason football camp, Assistant Director of Athletics Communications Rachel Perreault will take you on a behind-the-scenes look at different aspects of the football program that go beyond the practice field. In today’s 12th installment, she checks in with the educational meetings the team goes through.

Throughout preseason football camp, the players and coaches participate in a quick educational meeting every evening after dinner. The content of these meetings span from hydration to the ticket policy, social media to the town of Blacksburg. Associate Athletics Director for Football Operations John Ballein and Coach Frank Beamer sit down in the summer time and address their plans for these meetings as they update the camp manual distributed to all players and staff.

These meetings have been a staple in the camp schedule for over 15 years. The aim is to address all aspects of the players’ lives and inform them of things they will face as a person, student, football player and student-athlete. Most of these meetings are just 15 minutes long and break up the time between dinner and their final meetings of the day.

While some meetings are simply informative, on topics such as nutrition, compliance, rules, tickets and parking, and the town of Blacksburg, others reach out in a more emotional way. Ballein says in all of his time being in these meetings, the one last year about a man who lost his wife and son to a drunk driving accident stands out the most. It really captured everyone in the room and emphasized that your actions and choices don’t always only affect just you.

Joel Segal, a long-time NFL agent who has represented Hokies as far back as 1993, also preached how important it is to be aware of whom you surround yourself with and the situations you put yourself in. Segal addressed the team a week ago and though he spoke about some ins and outs of the business, he also touched on the dangers of popularity and how reckless choices can affect your stock as well as a chance for other work opportunities.

Segal, who represents Michael Vick and David Wilson and used to represent linebackers coach Cornell Brown as a player, related to the players the entire time he was at the podium. Greeting the team as Coach Beamer does every time they come together, he got right into talk of the business and the signs of who you can trust and even take advice from. He reiterated the same thing the coaches preach, that if an agent can’t follow the rules and respect you at this point, what will they do for you when they have your money.

He cruised through his 15 minutes in front of the team, using his recent signing process with former Hokie David Wilson as an example for not only the procedure, but related how Wilson told him that he had to win over his parents before any business would move forward. Segal closed his time talking about making the right decisions in your personal life about what to do, who to associate with and how you represent yourself through things like social media.

In an effort to simply prepare these young men for any different situation, good or bad, they may face as they move through college and beyond it, Ballein and Beamer make sure to keep things new every year. With new speakers, stories and information every season, they keep the meetings brief and the topics relevant in hopes to hit home. These meetings aren’t in place to be boring or scare anyone, but as the title states, just educate them and prepare them for the road they are traveling on.

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