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In August, the entire San Francisco 49ers football team became clients of Wealthfront, an investment management company. The goal is to help 49ers employees manage their assets and also provide them financial education through seminars.

That’s a smart move, because according to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article,
· 78 percent of NFL players face bankruptcy or other financial hardships within two years of retirement.
· In the NBA, 60 percent of players go broke five years into retirement.

Athletes from other sports such as MLB and boxing have also ended up financially ruined. Pro athletes lose millions for reasons similar to others who experience financial downfall after receiving a sudden windfall of cash through lottery winnings, lawsuits or inheritance: hefty taxes (and agent fees for athletes), big home purchases, spending money on things that only go down in value (cars, jewelry, partying), and family and friends looking for help.

The National Endowment for Financial Education estimates up to 70 percent of Americans who receive a sudden, large amount of cash will lose that money within a few years.

Added components for athletes are the brevity of a career, and youth. Typically, professional athletes have just a few years where they are considered at their money-earning peak. And, because most professional athletes start collecting a large paycheck fresh out of college, they can’t see far enough ahead, and believe their current financial status will continue for a long time.

So, kudos to the 49ers for giving their athletes the opportunity to learn the basics of money management. Here’s hoping most of them take advantage and start planning for life after the game.

It is unquestionable that King James’ return to Cleveland gave the city and its citizens a reason to rock a little harder than usual this NBA season. While the true value of LeBron James’ homecoming is incalculable (current estimates are between $50 and $500 million), the Cleveland Cavaliers have shown the importance of being prepared when the best player in the world walks through your door.

In 2010, after signing the Big 3 and selling out home games for the season, the Miami Heat fired its entire sales staff. Jump to 2014. The Cleveland Cavaliers sign hometown hero LeBron James, All-Star forward Kevin Love and retain a rising superstar in Kyrie Irving.

In response to their newfound fortune, Cleveland retained and redirected the mission of their sales team, opted not to raise prices on tickets, beefed up their digital media and refocused their sponsorship division, as reported by SportsBusiness Journal.

Unlike the unfortunate souls in Miami, the Cavs sales team has not found themselves out of work once the tickets started selling themselves. Instead, their efforts are focused toward selling tickets for the Cavs’ various minor league franchise interests.  The digital media department has added new mobile apps, installed a video screen that would make Jerry Jones blush, and installed a 3-D court projection system (I’m not even sure what that last one is).

Simply selling out of season tickets would make the Cavaliers money. The increase in national media exposure would equal millions in free organic PR. The additional playoff games alone equal additional revenue and exposure.  But the Cavaliers were willing to make smart investments and not over or under react to their impending success.

It is true that many of the physical and digital upgrades were necessary to win the bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention but sometimes we must give credit where credit is due, even if the recipient of said credit is the author of “The Letter” (not to be confused with “The Notebook”).  Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, for all practical purposes, seems to be backing up his mantra, “Money and numbers follow, they don’t lead.”

The leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping – it’s the perfect time of year to put a big pot of your favorite soup on, curl up and watch football baseball.

With the NFL season beginning with a series of upsetting headlines from players and questionable action (or lack of) by the league, the NFL in general has left a bad taste in my mouth. This extreme rough patch just continued to confirm my thinking (as well as others) that the NFL is a ticking time bomb.

So I very happily (I’ve been over the NFL for a while) decided to turn my full focus to the diamond. October, to me, means playoff baseball, and ratings show, I’m not the only one. Here are a few bullets to further my encouragement in favor of a pro-baseball fall season.

Derek Jeter: Yes, he’s retired (tears). But when the sporting world needed it most, Derek Jeter was our knight in shining pinstripes, hitting a walk off in his last home game EVER. The game, by playoff standings meant nothing, but to Yankee fans (and sports fans alike) it meant everything. This event allowed fans to:
• Get in the playoff spirit and ready for baseball to rule our households in October.
• Close the book on Jeter’s storied career just as they had hoped, doing what he has done best – winning.

This moment embodied what I love about baseball. Stay tuned to seeing how the MLB will find and deliver their next face of the sport.

Kansas City Royals: For the first time since 1985, the Royals are back in the playoffs. KC, worth $490 million, is listed as 29 out of 30 on Forbes.com’s Business of Baseball list of the most valuable MLB teams. And here they are, winning the AL Wild Card game over the Oakland A’s in dramatic walk-off fashion, and sweeping their way past the league’s best Los Angeles Angels. Next up, the AL East-winning Baltimore Orioles.

Can the 15 seed upset their way to the championship game? I can’t wait to find out.

The Oregon Ducks have long been the bastion of creative, flashy and unique jerseys. It seems their rise to prominence on the field has paralleled their dominance in the alternate uniform game. Having Nike padding their coffers can’t hurt. The more they’d win, the more the jerseys would change from year to year and game to game. Other schools (and manufacturers) saw the amount of talk, interest and revenue generated by having special jerseys and have reacted accordingly.

Since then, traditional programs like Ohio State and Oklahoma have added alternate uniforms to their sartorial repertoire. With big help from their official outfitters, smaller schools and mid-majors, like Northern Illinois and Ball State, have gotten in the mix,. The players love them, and they’re factoring into prospects’ minds when they choose what school to attend.

Nike competitor Under Armour recently announced a 10-year extension with one of its flagship schools, Maryland, in conjunction with some of the most patriotic alternate uniforms of all time. Who would have thought the sport of Dick Butkus and Johnny Unitas, not to mention these well-dressed guys, would turn into the most fashion-forward sport in America?

Off the field, alternate uniform announcements have given programs the opportunity to create traditional and social media content during the normally quiet summer. This is an excellent example for teams and programs to follow as a way to create a story and build something out of nothing besides fabric and sewing machines.

The trend is showing no sign of slowing down as the amount of teams with alternates grows each season. Additionally, it’s expanding beyond the college ranks. Like the players wearing them, the college alternate jerseys have made their way into the NFL, as demonstrated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2014 threads.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 11.23.40 AMIf you’ve tuned into the news or social media at all the past two weeks, you know that the NFL has all but gone up in flames. Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Dwyer – among others – have shined light on national issues of domestic violence and child abuse along with the nation’s differing views on them and how to handle them.

As an avid news reader, I know that these situations are far too common. So while I’m certainly not happy about what it’s taken to get to this place, it’s good to see open dialogue and education on these tough topics.

So here, presented without opinion, are some recent, well-reported, thought-provoking articles:

On domestic violence and victimization: After seeing the latest elevator footage, some argued that Rice’s fiance – now wife – “brought it on herself.” This article from Slate delves into the vicious cycle of domestic violence while this article from TIME explores the perpetual culture of victim blaming.

On culture and corporate punishment: While Adrian Peterson self-admittedly crossed the line, USA Today reporter Josh Peter explores how his upbringing and surrounding culture in Texas may have played a role in his article, “Whippings part of Adrian Peterson’s childhood.” On the other hand, CBS Sports reported Gregg Doyel looks inward at his own behavior as a father, the changing times, and what discipline really means in this piece.

On disciplining player behaviorTexas lawyer Stephanie Stradley explores the difficulties of punishing players beyond the justice system in her MMQB piece, “League Discipline and Legal Reality.”