Athlete Development Professional Certification Program


Program Overview

As athletic engagement professionals grow in importance to sports organizations, it is extremely critical that you possess not just a passion for sports, but consistent, applicable management and leadership skills and relevant business acumen. The Athlete Development Professional Certification Program will provide you with the business skills to work more effectively with players, their families and key stakeholders, and become a well-respected and valued member of your organization’s team.

During this program you will:

  • Develop essential management and leadership skills, including critical thinking and decision making, negotiation, influence and persuasion, finance for the sports professional and collegiate athlete, and crisis and media communications.
  • Hone your personal and professional leadership skills to motivate and engage peers, players, staff and league decision-makers.

This program is a joint venture between Wharton Executive Education and the National Football League developed in conjunction with the Wharton Sports Business Initiative. Designed by Wharton faculty and NFL insiders, including Troy Vincent, former NFL player and EVP of Football Operations, this impactful program will consist of a 4-day in-person module, virtual sessions and a hands-on small group project that will provide the ongoing sports business education that will enable you to provide more value to your organization.

Impact & Experience

Upon completion of this exclusive program, you will better understand of how to enhance a player’s growth and have the skills and confidence needed to create, lead and manage effective player growth strategies. In addition, you’ll develop a strong network of AED colleagues across sports leagues and college and university athletic departments.

During this program you will:

  • Attend one, four-day lecture-based session in Philadelphia.
  • Stay engaged and connected with AED colleagues in between sessions through ongoing virtual content and action learning projects.
  • Apply classroom discussions and newly acquired professional skills to real challenges facing you and your AED colleagues through hands-on, small group projects.

Who Attends This Program

Participants are:

  • Professionals currently in the Athlete Engagement or Player Engagement role in either professional or collegiate athletics, with a minimum of three years experience
  • Professionals currently in the Sports Industry Management field in either professional or collegiate athletics looking to move into the Athlete Engagement or Player Engagement role.

Note: The NFL and Wharton will jointly review applications and determine acceptance to ensure diversity of experience within the group.


  • Kenneth Shropshire, PhD

    Academic Director

    David W. Hauck Professor, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics; Director, Wharton Sports Business Initiative, The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Antitrust, contracts, negotiation and dispute resolution, the sports industrySee Faculty Bio

  • Mario Moussa, PhD

    President, Moussa Consulting

    See Faculty Bio

Program Logistics

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change. Contact a member of the Wharton Executive Education Client Relations team for more information on course specifics and to discuss how this program can meet your professional development needs. Please contact them by email or by phone at +1.215.898.1776.

Plan Your Stay


"Having the opportunity to partake in the Wharton Athlete Development Professional Certification Program was instrumental in so many ways.  This program offered the chance for continual learning by providing better insight to the ever evolving business of organizational development in professional sports. In the area of player engagement, it is important to have the wherewithal to communicate with players, coaches and management; the Wharton program really helped provide valuable tools beneficial in enhancing the ability to effectively do so.  While it was extremely helpful to me, anyone interested in periodic professional growth and development would benefit from this certification program."

 — Tina Tuggle, NFL Director of Player Engagement – Tennessee Titans


"The teaching at Wharton’s Professional Cert. Program helped me identify valuable traits in my leadership style that I had overlooked in the past.  I was able to feel more comfortable “selling” myself in short conversation’s to key shareholders within my organization that gave key personnel a better understanding of the value I bring to the organization as a whole.  I developed the skill of packaging my passion in a way that communicates genuine concern and culpability to our clubs vision."

 — Harry Swayne, NFL Director Player Engagement – Baltimore Ravens


"I would recommend the NFL/Wharton Athlete Development Professional Certification Program to anyone who has a passion for developing athletes at the youth, collegiate or professional level. The program included presentations by industry experts as well as engaging discussions lead by my peers. It challenged me to critically evaluate my business skills, especially in negotiations, and I have been able to implement some of the best practices in my day-to-day operations."

 — Katie Douglass, NFL Director of Player Engagement – Kansas City Chiefs


"Thanks to the NFL/Wharton Athlete Development Professional Certification Program I’ve experienced a significant difference in my ability to work in group settings productively and efficiently. The curriculum in the program has also improved my ability to speak publicly with an increased comfort level. One of the added benefits to that point is the marked improvement in my negotiating skills which allows me to leverage opportunities on behalf of my organization. Anyone who intends to strengthen themselves professionally and maximize their personal growth should take part in this program."
 — Karen Gerstle, NFL Players’ Assistant – Philadelphia Eagles

Back To Top