Bengals’ Trayveon Williams goes from the gridiron to a law school lecture


Cincinnati Bengals running back Trayveon Williams looks up at the fans while warming up before the AFC wild card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

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  • The Cincinnati Bengals running back will co-teach a class at Texas A&M’s law school
  • Course explores an NCAA rule change that allows college athletes to be paid for endorsements

(Reuters) – Trayveon Williams might have to reschedule at least some sessions of the class he’s co-teaching next year at the Texas A&M University School of Law.

After all, he could be playing in the Super Bowl.

Williams, a running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, is set to help teach a spring class on name, image, and likeness — which refers to the year-old NCAA rule that allows college athletes to be compensated for endorsements and appearances.

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Texas A&M law dean Robert Ahdieh said the unusual partnership grew out of a social media joke. When the law school cracked the top 50 in US News & World Report’s annual ranking in March, the blog Above the Law said of the school’s ascent, “you might think Trayveon Williams was doing the rushing there.” Williams was a standout on Texas A&M football team from 2016 to 2018.

Ahdieh took to Twitter to “welcome” Williams to the law school’s faculty and was surprised when the Bengal responded. “Am I missing something?” Williams tweeted with a laughing emoji. But the seed was planted, and within days sports lawyer Alex Sinatra — an adjunct and alum of the Fort Worth law school — had sold Williams on co-creating and co-teaching the class.

Williams was not able to monetize his name and image as a college student because the new rule was not yet in effect, but hearing about his experience as a college football player will help law students understand how lawyers can help players navigate the new rules, he told the campus publication Texas A&M Today.

“These kids are coming into a completely different world now,” Williams said. “They’re in the position to make millions and have a platform to do big things. We can be at the forefront and be the ones who are preparing these future advocates who can put these athletes in the best position possible.”

Ahdieh said the pair aim to incorporate hands-on elements including negotiation, client interviewing and drafting, making the course relevant even for students with no plan to pursue sports law.

And while it may have started as a joke, Ahdieh said Williams is taking his role seriously.

“I said, ‘I know you’re busy, you don’t have to be there for every class,’” Ahdieh recalled. “He wrote back and said, ‘What are you talking about? I’m the professor. How can I miss class?'”

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