As a fan and former UW footballer teamed up to provide NIL opportunities through “Montlake Players Camps”

Scott D. Hedgecock grew up with Husky football.

Now he is helping the huskies grow.

Hedgecock – a native of Kingston and a North Kitsap high school graduate – was 12 years old when he attended his first UW football game, “Everything I Saw Was Purple” a 31-0 sad victory over the USC in 1990. Hedgehog’s grandfather taught at UW, and his dad also studied at university. His family owned season tickets from 1993 to 2001, and Hedgecock also studied at UW for two years – before graduating from Northwestern University in Kirkland.

“I grew up a fan of huskies; it’s been like Dawg all his life, ”Hedgecock said.

Personally and professionally Hedgecock and Husky continued to intersect. When he helped run the financial advisory firm Aletheian Wealth Advisors in 2019, Hedgecock and K hired a couple of former Husky players – Kicker Cameron Van Winkle and backback Levon Coleman.

Hence the idea of ​​annual internships.

“Because we developed these relationships online and helped them come to a young age,” Hedgecock explained, “(Van Winkle and Coleman) said,‘ It’s really cool. We need to start talking to guys who are still teaching in college, so maybe when they move out of college, they’ll have a few more tools, and it’s not that hard. ”

“So that was really the genesis of it. In fact, they used the relationship, and we opened up internships for people and said, “Hey, we’re big fans of husky football, and we have a lot of time we’d like to invest in helping these young people learn the basics.” things related to business and finance ”.

Over the past few years, Aletheian Wealth Advisors has conducted an internship for a dozen UW footballers, offering what former line-up striker Chase Skuza has called a “basic financial literacy training program”.

But if the laws on names, images and similarities that allow college athletes to benefit from the sale of autographs, sponsored posts on social media, personal streaming channels, training lessons / camps, speeches, promotional speeches, personal items, recommendations, etc. Last July, Hedgecock and Skuza wondered what else they could help.

“You can give a guy a fish, or you can teach a guy to fish,” Hedgecock said. “We thought, would it be good for us to make a NIL deal with them?

“I think one of the opinions Chase and I had was: what if we could do something that isn’t just about making a deal, but helping the guys do their thing? We could use this as a business experiment where they are involved and they are trying to set it up and run it as a business where they take more ownership. Because you learn a lot of things that I think are more valuable than just getting a piece of money. ”

That’s how Montlake Players Camps, LLC was born. Founded by Hedgecock and Skuza – the latter underwent an internship at Aletheian Wealth Advisors last summer – the company is designed for UW players to benefit directly from youth football camps. The first such camp will be held for children aged eight to 14 at the Botel on Saturday – featuring a quartet of coaches defenders Dylan Morris and Sam Howard, as well as safety Alex Cook and Julius Irwin.

As of Tuesday morning, 94 children had paid a $ 65 registration fee, and Maurice, Howard, Cook and Irwin were due to share about 90% of the income.

(Montlake Players Camps is not affiliated with the Montlake Futures collective donor, which is organizing its own camps and events this summer, but Hedgecock said Montlake Futures is helping to promote their camp, and “we’re all on one page.”)

They stopped at youth camps, Hedgecock added, because “there is real value. There is a return to the community. It just checks a lot of boxes. ”

It also allows players with smaller public pedigrees to make a profit.

“You could unite athletes and really benefit from having one or two guys become faces (in camp), but also have a couple of guys who aren’t necessarily faces, but work in camp and get the same amount, “- said Skuza, a native of Sumner, who played for UW from 2017 to 2021. “That’s where we started and where we’re going.”

Speaking about where they are heading, Hedgecock said they are trying to set up an offensive line camp / defensive line camp for high school students – led by UW offensive line leader Garean Hatchet – in July. The idea is to use Montlake Players Camps as a mechanism for players who want to make a profit as well as give back.

“One of the guys in the current camp just asked,‘ Hey, if I wanted to work in clinics, could I spend it through this (company)? ’” Hedgecock said. “Actually it’s one of our goals: really for those who want to do it and have an idea, have a target age group, have a field that they’ve identified where they want to do it, yes, we’ll help them do it.

“So literally that’s why we called it the Players’ Camp in Montlake.” We wanted it to be available to any of those guys who want to take the initiative to do so. We see that this is a resource for them. “

Of course, this is not massive money making. (Hedgecock admitted that he does not plan to personally profit from the camps.) This is also no reason to pay recruits six-figure sums, as may be the case in some competing programs.

“If there are UW donors who give guys huge offers, great,” he said. “It’s just not my niche and not what I see we can accomplish.”

For Skuza – who earned a degree in political economy from UW and currently works at Fidelity as a financial representative – his role at Montlake Players Camps provides a different kind of performance.

“I thought, why not?” he said. “That’s what I can do on the side, and that’s what keeps me together with the UW community. I’m a big UW fan. I was Dawg for life. I am bleeding purple. I love the program. I like what they did for me. That’s what I did for five years there, just devoted myself to this program. “

Together Hedgecock and Skuza continue to give.

“They have some really interesting opportunities (like student-athletes) that no one else has, so I don’t want to take away from them,” Hedgecock said. “They get paid in college. They get a lot out of it. But it’s almost like having college and football full-time, so they lose some of the other opportunities that other students have – like a job or an internship. It’s just very difficult for them to do that.

“It’s true: it’s a desire to bring back to society and a group of people who have always brought great value into my life. Admittedly, this is not the same group of people I watched as a child. But they are the same. We want to continue to be involved in the relationships where we are here (financial) internships and mentoring. But seeing them grow and do these things is fun. ”

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