Sport management alumnus’ career takes him to the big game
When the arguably biggest sporting event in North America takes place every year, you’ll find Andrew Zink there. The 2012 sport management alumnus works for a non-profit with the NFL Players Association and knows the Super Bowl means a chance to network with hundreds of current and former players every year.
“A lot of the time we only talk with the players on the phone,” says Zink. “This is an incredible chance to meet face to face and hear about their successes and challenges.”
Zink works for a company called The Trust, which helps players navigate life after their NFL careers. They prioritize making sure the players will be financially stable, have a support system and assure that their physical and mental health is cared for after they maximize their opportunity to play in the NFL.
“A lot of players go into the NFL banking on long careers – 10-15 years – but whether an injury or other factors, a significant number of players don’t make it that far,” explains Zink. “If they do things, like finishing their degree, it’s extremely beneficial.”
Super Bowl LII is the fifth Zink has attended with his company. Of those five years, he’s gotten to go to one of the games. The rest of them – and most of his future Super Bowl visits – he’s working, including hosting a watch party for those current and former players and their families. “Stadiums are only so big and this is a good engagement point for us,” he says.
Of course, there is some time between the early mornings and long days to take in the atmosphere the host cities set up.
The career path for the Zink isn’t exactly where he expected to land. He imagined he would be working for a university or team in some capacity, not player transitions. But once he started at the company, he found his passion for helping others.
He credits his sport management degree from UWL for making that switch easy for him. “It was a relief,” Zink says. “I don’t think everything has the luxury.”