Heading to the classroom

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With the Jacksonville Jaguars offseason conditioning program almost five weeks away, several members of the club are using their time away from the gridiron to hit the classroom.

Alvin Pearman, Maurice Williams and Nick Greisen were notified this week of their acceptance into the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial program. The program is a joint partnership between the NFL, the NFLPA and the country's most elite business schools. Approximately 125 NFL players will participate in the program in 2007.

Pearman and Greisen will be attending classes at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania from February 25-28 and April 1-4. Williams was accepted into the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which runs from March 4-7.

"This is a good opportunity to broaden my horizons," Williams said. "I want to see different things. NFL football is great, but I can only do it for so much longer. I am interested in learning the whole dynamics off the field. The different programs they will do should help me."

There are seven other Jaguars players who are also using their offseason to take classes toward their bachelor's degree. Dan Connolly (North Florida), Jamar Landrom (Tennessee State), Jeremy Mincey (Florida), Montell Owens (Maine), Kenny Pettway (Grambling), Chris Roberson (North Florida) and Pat Thomas (FCCJ) are all currently taking classes. Donovin Darius is working toward his master's degree at the University of Phoenix in Jacksonville.

According to the NFLPA website, the NFL program was developed in 2005 to assist and encourage players in areas such as entrepreneurship, managing and growing their own business and evaluating investment opportunities. Other schools that participate are the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and the Harvard Business School.

Three Jaguars participated in the NFL's program last year. Darius and Dennis Norman attended Wharton while Marcellus Wiley participated in the program at Stanford.

The program at Wharton emphasizes Entrepreneurship and Business Building with an emphasis on real estate. The program is delivered in two, three-day modules beginning on February 25. The three-day program at Stanford seeks to broaden players' understanding of business opportunities in general and the sports industry specifically.

Williams graduated from Michigan in 2001 with a degree in sports management and communications. He is excited about heading to California and sitting in a classroom for the first time in six years.

"It can't be any tougher than training camp," Williams said. "We spend so much time in the classroom playing football with film study and going over different plays. I will be well-prepared to take some notes."

Pearman, who has a degree in sports medicine from Virginia, has been doing an internship with Merrill Lynch on Wall Street in New York since the end of the season. He will continue his duties in New York until offseason conditioning begins in late March.

Each player who completes the program will receive a certificate from the participating school. All active players are reimbursed for enrollment costs through the NFL Tuition Reimbursement Program.

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