Karen Schiferl, Associate AD for Student-Athlete Support Services at Eastern Michigan University

Karen Schiferl is currently the Associate AD for Student-Athlete Support Services at Eastern Michigan University.  Before arriving at EMU, she worked as the Associate AD for Academics and SWA at Chicago State, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Academic Support at the University of Mississippi.  As well as Senior Associate Director at the University of Maryland’s, and the Academic Coordinator in the athletic counseling offices for Northern Illinois University.   Karen started in athletics as a graduate intern for Indiana University’s Hoosier Athletic Academic Advising Office.  Karen has served on a multitude of national and regional academic boards and has presented at academic conferences across the country.  Currently, she is a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A), the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), and the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS). Schiferl has also received both the N4A’s Professional Promise Award and the Distinguished Service Award. Karen has a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Indiana University, earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Afro-American Studies also from Indiana University.

Dr. Mark: How important has the mental health of the student-athlete become?

Ms. Schiferl: It has changed over the years, right now student athletes mental health is a real Hot Topic.  It wasn’t so much 10, 15 or 20 years ago. University student-athletes are 18 to 20-year-old kids. I know some people might be offended by me calling them kids, but they are in a stage of their life where they are growing and maturing and developing.

I would add if your working with student athletes you have to work to establish a relationship with the student athletes.  Getting to know them as an individual, is a key to developing that trust in a relationship to help them be successful.  The success of the student-athlete doesn’t happen by accident; it takes a lot of effort, it takes a village if you will, and I think that’s been consistent through the years. We just have more people in that community now helping.

Dr. Mark: Is there a direct connection between academic success and the personal development of the student-athlete?

Ms. Schiferl: You were a student-athlete 20 years ago, and at that time it was all about academics and GPA standards and graduation rates.  Now we had a more of a shift to the holistic development of the student-athlete.  Because in twenty years people might not remember your GPA, but they are going to remember if you were involved in community service and outreach or took advantage of personal development. As a student-athlete, those things are going to be more impactful.  It’s not to say that we don’t want to see student-athletes succeed academically because we do, but there is a broader picture that is beyond just academic support, there is a much more holistic view that’s happening beyond the academics.




Dr. Mark: Does a person actually need training in the life skills/student-athlete development profession to work with student athletes?

Ms. Schiferl: Yes, I think so. The evolution of student-athlete development is here, and you are now looking at career development, personal growth, community outreach and leadership all of the other aspects of developing a student-athlete. There are a lot of people that think they can work with student athletes or desire to work with student athletes. There seems to be this romantic notion about working with the student-athlete.  But there is a need for people that are interested in the profession to be able to understand what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it.  So I think there does need to be some training and awareness from a professional.

Dr. Mark: Why are life skills/student-athlete development professionals usually at the bottom of the pay scale in the athletic department?

Ms. Schiferl: You know, I don’t have a good answer for that. Mark, you know obviously in many cases coaches are being paid lots and lots of money.  As well as other people in athletics that are paid at a higher rate than the folks working in the business of developing student-athletes personally.

Honestly, it’s a little bit like teachers in the education field. The value is not the same, but I am not sure why that is. People say it is hard to quantify what we accomplish.  Do you say, we’ve done x amount of hours of community service or we’ve done six presentations on personal development?  Entirely different from a coach, you can say well they won this many games they lost that many games. It’s a little bit harder to say this is what we are doing and this is how we are doing it. Which makes it difficult to put a value on duties and demonstrate the real worth, that would potentially get us paid a little bit more money.


Dr. Mark: Should student athletes have a personal development 4-year plan much like the 4-year academic plan?

Ms. Schiferl: Some institutions do better jobs than others, one of my goals at Eastern Michigan is to create a much more robust student development program.  I think our student athletes are doing a lot, but I don’t believe there is not a comprehensive, structured program right now.  It is my job to make sure that we pull together all of the things that they are already doing and make it into a structural program so that not only they’re getting from point A to point B but now they are going from point B to point C and then beyond.


Dr. Mark: Is athletic identity real?

Ms. Schiferl: It’s very real and even more so now.  Things have changed in youth sports.  When I was a youngster we might have played multiple sports, it isn’t the same now. Parents are spending a fortune traveling their kids across the country to be involved in one sport. They are investing all kinds of money into recruiting services to get kids a college scholarship.  Athletic identity starts younger now, much younger.    Athletic identity is implanted in the student-athlete, and they have to understand and know its a critical part of their identity. There’s more to an athlete than just being that athlete. And so the more that we can help them to understand that yes you’ve got some great skill that you’ve acquired as an athlete how do you make them transferable to other areas of life, but yes I think the athletic identity is real, definitely real.


Dr. Mark: How important is it for student-athletes to focus on the transitions they experience in sports?

Ms. Schiferl:  Oh it’s huge,  I think that’s just absolutely massive it’s imperative that we help them develop those skills so they can transition successfully. Student athletes get so caught up in their athletic identity and being an athlete that they sometimes become unaware of all the other things, the positive things that they are capable of doing. The more we can do to help them understand the skills that they have, and how these skills are transferable to the real world to make sure they know they can have a successful transition.

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Memoir of an Athlete, Brandon Ballard, Part Two

The Sophomore Year 

The sophomore year, a time I believe regular students begin their collegiate manifest is the time student-athletes should start forming their plan of what is going to happen to them after they receive their degree.” I had a good GPA, and enough connections to join the Fraternity & Sorority Life going through the initiation process for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., expanding my network to like-minded individuals that had major career ambitions, preached service, and scholarship. Although the frat was enriching, it wasn’t a solution to my particular needs.

After going through an up and down matriculation as an undergraduate student-athlete not fully committing to what I wanted to do.  I found myself having to make a tough decision between academics and athletics.  I was a nursing major who was applying for the nursing program but failed to get accepted because my GPA was a 3.23 when the program required a minimum 3.25 GPA for consideration. You had to be excellent in your science classes, and I simply was not.

Eligibility is a huge part of the NCAA system that influences student-athletes’ experiences participating on the field of competition as well as in the classroom. Unfortunately for me, all of my credits were towards the nursing program that just declined me. I had to make the decision to either switch my major to a degree outside of health and sit a whole year out from competing.  Or make the credits already achieved through the nursing track work in another health related major to continue participating in sport, so I chose to leave the nursing dream and major in Health Services Administration.

Activity restriction for changing majors is one of the many problems non-student athletes never encounter because they are not governed by NCAA legislation nor is there a rule that prevents or punishes non-student athletes from changing majors. I chose the best financial and athletic choice for me at that time because I wasn’t on a full scholarship and did not want to sit out a year because of academics. That was the first time I chose athletics, money and time over my education. I was in a major I didn’t like and had to find some way to use it for my post-graduation development.

The Junior Year 

The first week of my junior year, I informed the Vice President of the Student-Athlete Leadership Council (SALC), my teammate, Marcus Ghent, and the Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development, Liz Augustin, that I wanted to step up and play a bigger role in SALC. It only took me reaching out to these people in power to ignite my drive once again. I was in SALC helping athletes and a team captain now for my team. The (SALC) is a group of the elected team leaders that provide student-athletes an avenue to enhance their leadership skills both on and off the field.  The council provides student-athletes opportunities to have their voice heard and offered input on the rules, regulations, and policies that affect student-athletes’ on NCAA member institution campuses. It was during this time I decided on a career in this realm of athletics but did not know how to nor did I actively do any research into the industry I desired to enter.  I spent a large part of this year wondering and trying to decide what was to be my passion outside of athletics and while actively participating in the SALC, I was still unsure of any direction I would venture into after my athletic eligibility would expire.

The Transition and My Senior Year 

During my senior year I was awarded an internship with Athlete Network my duties included spreading the companies brand and services provided to fellow athletes offering them a “LinkedIn” for athletes by athletes, and yes, I thought I was gaining leeway to get my foot in the door in the collegiate athletics industry. Up until this point as an athlete, I made good decisions and had every intention of graduating without losing focus.  However, I made a huge mistake, which resulted in the wake-up call I needed to motivate me in preparation for the real world.

The FIU Life Skills department invited a speaker to campus.  The topic was social media, and I signed up to attend the meeting but made the mistake of taking a nap and ended up oversleeping.  When I contacted the presenter via email to request the PowerPoint presentation, he responded, “We don’t get unlimited chances to have the things we want, nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life.” I will never know if that presentation would have changed my life because I never received it.  However, his direct and cold response did, in fact, change my life.

The following day, I went into super networking mode and started calling/emailing a list of 70+ Division 1 school’s life skills/athlete development directors.  A process which lasted several weeks and although I was still competing in track meets, I continued seeking “Industry Insight” and connections to land a job or assistantship because I knew graduation was coming fast. As all high school student athletes trying to attain the opportunity to compete at the next level should be aware; you have to put yourself out there. You pick up networking skills sending your highlight tape or statistics to coaches just looking for a chance and don’t even know it. I was in full get an opportunity mode as if I were a recruit.

Weeks later, I landed an interview at the University of Arkansas for a graduate assistantship position in academics but couldn’t attend the on-campus interview because I was scheduled to compete in my last conference indoor track and field competition. Before the Skype interview could be arranged,  the position was filled, I felt so close and knew my athletic career got in the way of my career ambitions yet again. I was down to one last on-call interview with the University of South Carolina and was out of connection opportunities, but I noticed I missed one email reply. I scheduled my last “Industry Insight” call with Raymond Harrison of Texas A&M. We had a great conversation as I had with the previous directors, I mentioned to him how my last interview with Arkansas fell out and how I’d be interviewing for the University of South Carolina. Unbeknownst to me, he was a former director at South Carolina, and he said he would put in a good word for me because I seemed genuine in my approach to him over the phone. Now I don’t know if that connection was ever made, but I went through the interview process and was happy to receive notice that I would be a future graduate assistant at the University of South Carolina. My foot was finally in the door.

The Reality of the Real World and Transitioning 

As a collegiate athlete, I was under the impression that the NCAA was a system taking advantage of the student-athlete and I wanted to change that. Now that I work in athletics; in academics and enrichment with my assigned academic advisor, my experience is a weekly eye opener not to blame the NCAA but establish a new system where student-athletes take full advantage of their scholarship, resources, and collegiate opportunity. Transitioning from the role of student-athlete to potential academic advisor operating under the scope of the SEC only exposed me to this deposition that I was always intrigued about.

I think of the majority of black student athletes across the country that need someone that looks, talks, thinks and operates like them to deliver a needed message of hope for their lives after sport. Who will lead/mentor this group of student-athletes to go above and beyond the realm of what the NCAA and their athletics program expect from them and reach for the stars? Team captains; coaches; academic advisors; life skills coordinators? This formula continues to leave out the athletes that could be motivated by one of their own. We are the present, past and future black student athletes. We are black millennials student-athletes, we want things now. We operate differently than the previous norms, and it’s proven.

The NCAA system does offer a lot of programs such as the Life Skills Symposium, the postgraduate internship, and the Leadership Forum, however, the symposium or event that caters to the personal development of black student-athletes and defines how this population can positively transition out of collegiate sports is not being offered.  The NCAA system is missing targeted advising, youthful speeches at life skills events, genuine cultural sensitive mentorship – an opportunity for black student-athletes to network with each other and general student-athlete guidance eliminating the attitude of “what did the NCAA do for me?” Replacing it with the fulfillment of having the full collegiate student-athlete experience.


The experiences of the black millennial student-athlete can range from the less fortunate to the most opportune. America is a place for opportunity, and understanding that the black student-athlete from the lowest of low incomes and opportunity can accomplish something as great as receiving a full scholarship to educate themselves is incredible. But what we should start proposing is the fact that education and the degree are not enough.  Implementing the personal development foundation or building upon an existing foundation is key to creating a pathway towards a passion for becoming more than just a student-athlete.

We must ask and answer the following questions truthfully.  Are the leadership on the high school and NCAA level providing personal development needs and reaching as many student athletes as possible? Have we tried all ideas presented?  A more important question, what are the black journalist and athletic leaders doing regarding the personal development needs of the black athlete?  I am willing to step up and play a leadership role to assist in the personal development needs of this unique population.  I’m hungry to take on this role to lead a generation of black student athletes that are indeed unsure of the transition to and from collegiate athletics.


Brandon Ballard

Master’s Candidate in Sports & Entertainment Management | University of  South Carolina | Dodie Academic Enrichment Center Graduate Assistant


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Memoir of an Athlete, Brandon Ballard, Part One

The successful journey of the current student-athlete begins and ends well outside of the realm of their performance in their perspective setting of play. History is being made, and records are vanishing due to the millennial student-athlete as well as the black millennial student-athlete. All student athletes that make it to the college level share the same feelings of accomplishment knowing they are the select few that will have the opportunity to continue their athletic career beyond high school or club play.

I genuinely believe there is not a universal comprehension of the stories behind each and every student-athlete that make this enormous accomplishment come true. A student-athlete must meet all sorts of guidelines before they have the choice to accept the opportunity to be a collegiate student-athlete based on their athletic abilities. I remember when my high school counselors and coaches informed the team that it was time to complete the NCAA Eligibility Center, diploma, and standardized test score requirements if you were serious about performing on the next level. Of course, I had no idea things like this existed, but I completed the task because that’s what it took. There are plenty of student-athlete stories that stop there. Not because of their athletic ability but because they couldn’t meet those three requirements stated alone. Who’s to say they shouldn’t have the opportunity to better themselves because of those requirements when they’ve made it so far already.

An important entity we should not overlook is the background of a student athlete, which includes their personal development. Student-athletes come from single, two-parent, legal guardian upbringings from all races and environments, which play a huge role in the personal development of the student-athlete entering college.

The personal development portfolio student-athletes carry with them through their journey is often dormant because their sports desires either over influence them not to speak to someone about their personal growth needs or they are unaware such resources even exists.

Fortunately for me, I was raised by both of my college-educated parents (my mother, who ran track) in a single home with a general sense of self-love and thankfulness to have a solid personal development foundation. Although they were college graduates, the dynamic of being a college athlete in this generation is different, so the foundation they provided me with had to be tinkered with, once I finally made the decision to attend Florida International University, located in Miami, FL and run track their as a walk-on my freshman year.

However, coming out of high school in 2012 being named the “Student Athlete” of the Year I was not informed of the opportunities to personally develop myself that would surround me being a student-athlete in college. The general sentiments of “You made it!” seems to plague college student athletes, not knowing that college is only the beginning. Advising the high school student athlete of the resources they can use to network and build their inner-being before they are sent off to college is critical.

Personal development is needed at the collegiate level. The dynamics my university offered were everything a high school athlete could imagine. However, if it weren’t for my upbringing and constant contact with my parents, my grades would’ve been atrocious. Resulting in me never earning the scholarship I was aiming for since making the decision to go to FIU. Your coaches can control you while you’re at practice and your adviser can guide you through the educational process but when you are alone with your “friends;” who is responsible for providing the personal development facets needed to help you become the best collegiate athlete you can be?

The Freshman Year Student-Athlete Experience

I walked on campus in Miami, moved into my dorm by myself, and was immediately the new track guy.  I had the identity as the new track guy before people could even get to know my name. Maybe because the first day I had arrived I was given an FIU Track and Field hat and rocked it all throughout freshman orientation, but truly it was because I was a student-athlete amongst regular college students. Athletics was number one from the beginning; I was there to perform, get the scholarship and get the degree. I was unaware of the type of advantages I could receive being an athlete and a student.  I separate the words for a moment to emphasize the difference between a collegiate athlete to a full-time student. As an athlete, I was exposed to all the other athletes from different backgrounds and immediately shared bonds and built friendships/connections.  But from my vantage point, the rules and regulations for us are different to the non-student athlete.

My fellow athletes and I walked around campus with a particular mantra about ourselves; you were an elite athlete. At my school, there was a little less than 50 thousand students enrolled but only about 350 student athletes, who for the most part all stayed on campus at a commuter school.

We were loud and proud about our FIU, wearing the gear we received. Of course, we were grinding working our butts off to be the best athletes we could be, but that constant appeal of being the athletes on campus in Miami, FL of all places can be mesmerizing. Too mesmerizing for some as I had probably lost more than two dozen teammates to the “Miami Animal” of endless fun and women/men. I was close to losing my opportunity as well, with a couple of run-ins with the campus police that could’ve ended terribly.


Read Part Two



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Transitional Management Program for Athletes

The Institute for Personal Player Development has launched its Transitional Management program for athletes of all ages.  Most people believe the transition is a one-time occurrence which takes place at the end of an athlete’s athletic career, but that is not entirely true.  A transition can occur as a result of many things such as an athlete entering college as a Freshman, and moving on to Sophomore, Junior and Senior year.  Transitions occur when athletes transfer schools or are asked to redshirt or play a new position.  They also occur when an athlete is charged with a crime or removed from the institution.   But the biggest transition is the final transition, leaving the athletic experience altogether.



For information on the Institute for Personal Player Development, Transitional Management program click here:  Transitional Management Program




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Athletes and Transitional Management

The disturbing transformation of Cliff Harris a one-time All-American high school athlete, Pack 12 champion, and former NFL hopeful is unfortunate but not new.  In fact, athletes self-destructive behavior post career is becoming a common theme for collegiate and professional athletes who are forced to transition out of sports. Transitional Management is a term we rarely associate with sports however the lack of transitional management services afforded to collegiate and professional athletes is at a minimum, and the need seems to be ever growing.

When Michael Phelps retired from swimming, he lost his identity and didn’t have any direction.  According to Phelps “I took some wrong turns and found myself in the darkest places you could ever imagine, that I hope nobody ever goes.”  The reality of Phelps loss of identity will be experienced by many collegiate and professional athletes. Although the athletic community and media witness issues and challenges athletes face, we still have not grasped the formula to assist young men and women who give us their all.”



What’s the cause of athletes spiraling out of control after they leave the game and what is needed to prevent it?  The proper term is Athletic Identity Transitional Management. Consider it a guide to understanding the multilevel platform of transitions experienced through sports participation, with a careful examination of the thought and behavior process associated with a significant change.  When we understand the process of thinking and behavior, we then can begin to work toward a successful transition.  According to Ronnie Stokes, former Ohio State standout, “Transitional support services are vitally important, unfortunately, kids leave college ill-equipped in certain areas, they are thrown out and expected to survive in a number of sectors, and the transition is an ongoing process.”

Some argue why should any collegiate or professional organization provide transitional management services for former players?  After all, when an employee or volunteer is fired or leaves a volunteer position in the workforce, they are never provided transitional management services. My argument is simple, these staff and volunteers that work for a company didn’t dedicate a significant part of their youth and adult life to that profession or that company, neglecting other opportunities in pursuit of becoming the best athlete they can be.

The transition from sports to the real world is documented as a difficult one.    However, athletes experience many transitions before transitioning out of sports, which we neglect.  Collegiate and professional organizations seem to have issues and challenges providing adequate programs and resources to assist athletes when experiencing a transition.  While they have programs in place, these programs are either, out of touch or misinformed on the particular type of services athletes require. Therefore, we are witnessing unfortunate stories of athletes who have everything going for themselves and end up with nothing.

If we expect athletes behavior in and outside of the sport to improve, our behavior, understanding, and approach to assisting athletes with the transitional phases need to improve as well.  More importantly, accountability for the well-being of athletes must become more than lip service or driven by the buddy system, specifically on the collegiate level.

Athletes dedicate years to the sport and the athletic community as he/she attempts to become the best they can be, meanwhile providing entertainment for fans, alumni, as well as generating revenue. Collegiate and professional organizations have an obligation to provide transitional management services for athletes they encounter, even when an athlete is removed from the institution for a disciplinary reason.  Was Cliff Harris provided any assistance during the  transitions he encountered while providing athletically related services?  Has anyone reached out to offer assistance to him now?

It’s sad when a former collegiate athlete will receive a letter or call from their universities foundation soliciting dollars but never receive a phone call from the athletic department asking how they are managing the transition.

For information on the Institute for Personal Player Development, Transitional Management program click here:  Transitional Management Program




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Athletes Equal Business and the IPPD Partnership

The Institute for Personal Player Development has partnered with Athletes Equal Business to provide preparation and career services for the Institute. Athletes Equal Business is a company dedicated to coaching, counseling and placing highly talented student-athletes into the corporate world. Working in harmony with educational institutions and America’s top companies, Athletes Equal Business helps student athletes make a smooth transition from the playing field, to their vocational field, and find rewarding employment. The Institute for Personal Player Development provides top quality training and development for athletes and athletic staff, with an emphasis on the personal, social and professional development of athletes. The partnership will merge services and offer athletes and athletic staff assistance with post-collegiate career preparation, Transitional Management Assistance and will provide a high school and community college online program.

Research has clearly shown that making the transition from college athletics to the “real world” is a difficult, frustrating and often painful experience for student-athletes. The reason for this, unlike most traditional students, athletes are focused on practicing and competing in their sport well into their senior year. This significantly reduces the time available to participate in career fairs, campus interviews and other programs designed to help them find gainful employment.

According to Scott Cvetkovski Director of Campus Relations for, Athletes Equal Business, the partnership is going to provide a beautiful, holistic support avenue for athletes everywhere. The Institute and Athletes Equal Business share the same values, and we believe this partnership makes us stronger in our cause to make sure athletes are getting the most education and support to be successful before, during, and after sports.

Dr. Mark Robinson, Sr. Director of the Institute for Personal Player Development believes this partnership is another step in building a full-service personal development institute specifically focusing on the athlete and the global athletic community. The partnership provides our growing list of domestic and international Personal Player Development Specialist an in-house option to assist athletes with career preparation and development. The agreement also allows the Institute to move forward and fully implement our Transitional Management Assistance program in all areas, which I am extremely excited about.

To learn more about Athlete Equals Business or The Institute for Personal Player Development contact:

Dr. Mark Robinson





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Stacked Sports: Pioneering Athlete Social Media Holistic Behavior and Risk

Ben Graves, Founder/CEO, was a former D1 student-athlete and recognized the issues facing athletes and athletic programs on social media. Going through the college athletic process at two separate D1 programs, he recognized colleges were not providing students effective help in educating and managing one’s online presence. He and his team, made up of current and former collegiate athletic department staff, software engineers and data scientists, have built the technology to do just that.

Bill Shults, Director of Business Development, is a seasoned collegiate veteran with experience as a Head Coach (swimming), Compliance Professional (FSU, UCONN, FIU), Associate AD with sport and SAAC oversite (UCONN) and Director of Athletic Academic Support (FSU). He then went into private business with JumpForward and helped propel them to become the national leader in Compliance and Recruiting software before joining the Stacked Sports team in November 2015.

What is Stacked Sports?

Stacked Sports provides a solution to the developing problems facing athletes in the age of Social Media dominance. The platform’s goal is to give athletes a better, more intuitive glimpse at their online presence, helping them to see things that the nature of social media makes unclear or unintuitive. We do this using an algorithm to generate what we call a “Stacked Score,” which is derived from more than a dozen metrics of social media behavior, and allows users to compare their score against others to see how they “stack up.” The platform also allows users to quickly see an overview of what activities and conversations of theirs might misrepresent them in the recruiting process or job search. Additionally, we have built out a library of brief educational videos to help student athletes prepare and develop a strong online presence that can help them now and moving forward.

Why develop a platform of this magnitude?

Social media is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the world with every passing year.   Standards have evolved for how social interaction works and almost all standards have changed regarding how online privacy, risk, and influence work as well. Social media experts have made a strong effort to help students understand how social media can impact them and how they can best react to it. One solution we have consistently seen is monitoring social media activity or simply talking about social media behavior; the good, the bad, what one should or should not do, which all have value, though the message does not stay with the student.  At Stacked Sports we want to provide Student Athletes and eventually all types of users an action based tool that gives continuous feedback about their social media presence.  Our platform not only screens and analyzes the user’s posts, but provides the user with tools to build and maintain a strong online presence.  The goal is to educate and empower the user to take action if that’s what the user wants to do.

How is this different from Klout and who are your competitors?

Klout’s goal is to help users increase the influence they have on social media — while this is a component of our platform, it is not our sole – or even primary – goal. Telling a user how best to build their sphere of influence is important, but only half of the picture. Not everybody will be -or wants to be- famous, but even then, there is still value in more deeply understanding what one’s online presence looks like to the outside world, beyond just how many people respond to your posts. We incorporate factors like behavioral risk alongside influence to come up with a more holistic understanding of our users that we hope to continually expand on in the coming months. Additionally, this platform is intended to allow users to involve more people than just themselves in their social media management, from advisors or mentors to coaches or parents, anyone the user feels could help them accomplish what they want to accomplish.

Is there value in the high school athlete using this product?

Absolutely — the pitfalls of social media do not apply only to college student athletes, but in many ways, apply even more to high school students/athletes. Traditionally a college coach will evaluate you based on an assortment of measurements, i.e. 40 yard, height/weight, bench press, etc. One of the newest metrics in the recruiting process for college coaches is a prospects social media activity. What better way for a college coach to get an in-depth understanding of a prospect then to see how he or she interacts with friends, type of content one shared/retweets, type of language one uses, time of day one is posting, etc. Some coaches use this metric more than others, but increasingly it’s becoming more and more relevant in the recruiting process.

Do you see the platform having an effect on the college admissions process in the future?

Definitely, whether it is our platform or another company. While colleges may not publicly say so, social media is already widely used during the college admissions process, with admissions officers manually discovering applicants one at a time on each social media platform they intend to screen. Social media evaluation by college admissions offices is not going away, and we suspect it is still in its infancy growth-wise. At this time we are more focused on preparing the user (applicant) for when it is standard practice for an admissions office to use an efficient social media screening tool on applicants.

How can our readers try Stacked Athlete?

One can sign up and try Stacked Athlete, free at The freemium version will provide a new user a preview of their last 90 days worth of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram activity. The $11.99/mo enables a user to view a more in-depth analysis of their online presence, receive real-time text notifications of flagged content, add a mentor to also receive those notifications and more.



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International Basketball Scams on the RISE: Don’t fall Prey to the Predator  

Since writing my first article on International Basketball Scams, I have received emails about possible scams and I can tell you the Scammers are still at large looking for Dream Chasers like yourself.  I created the International Basketball Workshop for International basketball Dream Chasers. Please invest in educating yourself on the business of playing International Basketball and how to avoid becoming a victim of the popular international scam.

My workshop contains valuable information and allows athletes an opportunity to use me as a sounding board on issues that directly pertain to International basketball.  If you come across a contact or contract that you don’t think is legit, you need to watch my workshop.  Everything you need to know is covered in the International Basketball Success Workshop of join our Facebook group.

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In the meantime, please review some of the emails I received regarding International Basketball scams over the past few months, the threat is real:

My girlfriend got an offer to play ball overseas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The man sent her an email Sept 23, and she quickly responded. He even said they’ll pay for her ticket just send $110 to whomever. She paid the agent and also went and got her passport.  She is still waiting for a response from him since last week (it’s going on two weeks since she’s communicated with this guy) and she’s been messaging him, and he will not respond. Do you think it’s a scam?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

Hi, I saw your article on overseas basketball scams, and I have a guy who initially wrote me on Facebook asking if I wanted to play basketball in China. Now, when I asked for the agency the man worked for he told me he worked for Ingle Wood basketball agency based out of the UK. I did some research and couldn’t find anything on this agency.

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

I searched the team that was on the form he sent which was called the “Nanjin Army” china- NBL team. So I saw that the team was legit. But I don’t know what this man’s connection is to them. I have tried to speak on the phone with him, but he keeps avoiding the conversation. I think this may be a scam but would like to know for sure?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

This “agent” Raynell Brown has been contacting me for CREFF MADRID women’s basketball team. Today he said I had to fill out a medical form and a copy of my passport.  The insurance emailed me the medical form and he asked me to send him $520 for the tryout to the Western Union.  He called me this morning with an unknown number saying I had to do it today.  I want to play overseas is this a scam?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

Hello, I just got offered to play for CB Salt in Liga Eba in Spain. They said they are paying for the flight, but I have to send them $355 for a Visa. They want me to send it through PayPal to an email address.  The agents that contacted me about this job were Jorge Sanchez and Sergei Fernandez. Does this sound like a scam?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

I was contacted by an agent who claims to work for Leicester Riders can you please let me know if this contract is fake please can you look over it.  Do you think this is a scam?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

I have recently been in contact with a scout/agent who works with Bizkaia  Bilbao  basketball club in Spain asking me to send $400 through the Western Union for medical insurance so I am just trying to see if it is legit and if I should move forward.  If I could forward you the emails, I received from them so you can verify them that would be great.

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!


Enroll in the Institute for Personal Player Development and watch my International Basketball Success Workshop.

Dr. Mark Robinson competed on the collegiate level for Indiana University and later played international basketball in Europe, Asia and Central America.  He is currently the Sr. Director of The Institute for Personal Player Development and a Personal Player Development expert.  He can be reached on:

Twitter: @drmarkppd






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Community College Student Athlete Conference

Dr. Mark Robinson and The Institute for Personal Player Development partnered with West Los Angeles College to deliver the first annual community college student-athlete conference. This was the first of several events and conferences targeting the community college student-athlete.  Take a moment and watch the highlight video of this historical event.



If you are interested in hosting a Personal Player Development event contact:

Dr. Mark Robinson
Sr. Director
The Institute for Personal Player Development

Follow the Personal Player Development Podcast

The Personal Player Development Podcast presents discussions on the issues in the area of personally developing the athlete.

Why is this important?

Athletes spend much of their time focusing on athletic development and neglect their personal growth. Before we can focus on athletic development we need to concentrate on personal development. Search the internet and social media and you won’t find another podcast dedicated to the personal evolution of the athlete.

Who should listen?

Anyone working with or has and interest in taking a personal approach with a player and developing that player.


Your Host and Guest

12997_10100431826612913_551173430_n copyBrandon L Sweeney is the host of the show. Brandon is a Motivational Speaker, who’s soul-stirring messages has impacted thousands of young people. Brandon is also a Personal Player Development Specialist (PPDS) and provides athletes with the tools to build a blueprint for the future in and outside of sports. Finally, he is the author of the book entitled “Loving The Game When The Game Doesn’t Love You Back.”





marc1Dr. Mark Robinson is Co-hosting the show. He is also the Sr. Director of the Institute for Personal Player Development. Dr. Mark Robinson is a world leader in understanding the behavior and personal development needs of students as well as being a pioneer on Athletic Identity. He has worked closely with high schools, colleges, professional athletes and foreign governments, helping them to understand the intricacies of students and athletes and professional athlete development. Over the course of a 20-year study, Dr. Mark, as he is commonly called, has developed a unique framework committed to the improvement of long-term student and student-athlete success. Finally, Dr. Mark is the author of “Athletic: Identity, Invincible, and Invisible, the Personal Development of the Athlete.” Dr. Mark has been a guest on a number of podcasts, blogs, radio shows and ESPN’s Outside the Lines addressing the issues and challenges athletes face today. Through his experience and success, he offers a uniquely qualified perspective unmatched by most in the industry.


The PPD Podcast features athletes and helping professionals who share their knowledge and experience in the personal player development industry. Log on to Soundcloud to listen, share and learn about the Personal Player Development industry today.



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