NFL vets pursuing MBAs through partnership with IU’s Kelley School of Business

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Joe Reitz suits up a little differently now than he did during his days on the offensive line for the Colts.

“I tell people I got a real job now, we can’t play football forever, traded in my uniform for a different kind of uniform,” Reitz said with a laugh.

The nine-year NFL veteran and is now working as an associate wealth management adviser for Northwestern Mutual, while also pursuing his MBA thanks to a partnership between the NFLPA and IU’s Kelley School of Business.

“It had been 10 years since I really done anything and exercising my mind and taking all this energy that I am used to using lifting weights and running and playing football and now I was able to concentrate on academia and exercise my mind,” the Hamilton Southeastern High School product said.

Like Reitz, NFL veteran Jermaine Ross utilized the  NFLPA  continuing education program, which includes tuition reimbursement to earn his MBA this summer.

“The program that IU Kelley School of Business has with the NFL, it wasn’t as time consuming as I thought but the added flexibility allowed me to take advantage of that and get things done in two years,” Ross explained.

The former Purdue standout played five seasons in the NFL, most of them with the Rams, and immediately after retiring put his electrical engineering degree to work at Allison Transmission. Ross said he's encouraged by the league’s efforts to help prepare players for post-football professions.

“We have always said that 10 percent of the players make 90 percent of the money,” the Jeffersonville, Ind. native said. “I think this program was put in place to help correct some of that and get players prepared for the future and get them back on the right path.”

Juggling his full-time career while also parenting two daughters meant Ross had to be creative in completing his coursework.

“A lot of time invested at night and on the weekends,” Ross said of the MBA program. “I spent a lot of time here at my desk after work trying to get a lot of it done.”

And as a father of four, having the Kelley program online was a bonus for Reitz as well.

“I can get up early in the morning and work, if the kids are napping for a couple hours and I am at home I can get some work done and then you do group projects and a lot of those work at night,” Reitz added.

With just two classes to go, Reitz says much of what led to success on the field is translating from football to finance.

“The thing that I have found whether it’s football, whether it is business, whether it’s life, there are no shortcuts,” Reitz said. “All the things the coaches are yelling about all the time, well they have really translated to me in my second career and it really is true for life as well not just out on the football field.”

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