Bengals’ Trayveon Williams goes from grill to law school desk

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

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  • Cincinnati Bengals running back to co-teach course at Texas A&M Law School
  • The course explores an NCAA rule change that allows college athletes to be paid for endorsements

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

After all, he could play in the Super Bowl.

Williams, a running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, is set to help teach a spring course on name, image and likeness – which references the year-old NCAA rule which allows college athletes to be paid for endorsements and appearances.

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Texas A&M Dean of Law Robert Ahdieh said the unusual partnership was born out of a social media joke. When the law school hit the top 50 in US News & World Report’s annual rankings in March, the Above the Law blog said of the school’s rise, “You’d think Trayveon Williams was rushing there- down.” Williams stood out on the Texas A&M football team from 2016 to 2018.

Ahdieh took to Twitter to “welcome” Williams to law school and was surprised when Bengal responded. “Did I miss something?” Williams tweeted with a laughing emoji. But the seed was planted, and within days sports attorney Alex Sinatra — a Fort Worth law school adjunct and alumnus — had sold Williams to co-create and co-teach the class.

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

“These kids are coming into a whole different world now,” Williams said. “They are able to make millions and have a platform to do great things. We can be at the forefront and be the ones to groom those future defenders who can put those athletes in the best possible position.

Ahdieh said the duo aimed to incorporate practical elements including negotiation, interviewing clients and writing, making the course relevant even for students who do not intend to study sports law.

And while it may have started as a joke, Ahdieh said Williams takes her role seriously.

“I said, ‘I know you’re busy, you don’t have to be there for every lesson,'” Ahdieh recalls. “He answered and said, ‘What are you talking about? I am the teacher. How can I miss classes?'”

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Jon J. Epps