How a fan and ex-UW soccer player teamed up to provide NIL opportunities through ‘Montlake Players Camps’ | UW sport

May 30 – Scott D. Hedgcock grew up playing husky football.

Now he helps huskies grow.

Hedgcock — a Kingston native and North Kitsap High School alum — was 12 when he attended his first UW football game, the “All I Saw Was Purple” 31-0 win over USC in 1990. Hedgcock’s grandfather taught at UW , and his father also attended university. His family owned season tickets from 1993 to 2001, and Hedgcock also attended UW for two years — before graduating from Northwest University in Kirkland.

“I grew up a Husky fan and have been a Dawg my entire life,” Hedgcock said.

Personally and professionally, Hedgcock and the Huskies continued to cross paths. In 2019, while helping to found financial advisory firm Aletheian Wealth Advisors, Hedgcock and co. hired two former Husky soccer players — kicker Cameron Van Winkle and running back Lavon Coleman — as partners.

This gave rise to the idea for annual internships.

“As we developed that relationship of networking and helping them come along as younger people,” explained Hedgcock, “[Van Winkle and Coleman]they said, ‘That’s really cool. We should start talking to guys who are still in college, so maybe they’ll have a few more tools by the time they leave college and it’s not that hard.’

“So that was really the origin story. It was really them that leveraged relationships and we opened up the internship opportunity for people and said, ‘Hey, we’re huge supporters of husky football and we have a lot of time that we’d like to put into helping these young men with that, really learn the basics of business and finance.'”

In recent years, Aletheian Wealth Advisors has offered internships to a dozen UW football players — and offered what former walk-on offensive lineman Chase Skuza called a “fundamental financial literacy curriculum.”

But as name, image and likeness laws – allowing college athletes to benefit from autograph sales, sponsored social media posts, personal streaming channels, training sessions/camps, speaking engagements, promotional appearances, personal merchandise, endorsement deals, etc. – in Stepping in power Last July, Hedgcock and Skuza wondered what else they could do to help.

“You can give a guy a fish or you can teach a guy to fish,” Hedgcock said. “We were thinking, would it be good for us to do some kind of NIL deal with them?

“I think one of the insights that Chase and I had was, what if we could do something that not only closes a deal, but helps the guys make their own? We could use it as a business 101 experiment that they’re involved in and they try to start and run it as a company where they take more ownership because you learn a lot of things that I think are more valuable than just one to get heaps of money.”

Thus was born Montlake Players Camps, LLC. Founded by Hedgcock and Skuza – the latter having interned at Aletheian Wealth Advisors last summer – the company was developed to allow UW players to benefit directly from hosting youth football camps. The first such camp is Saturday in Bothell for kids ages eight to 14 — featuring a quartet of coaches, quarterbacks Dylan Morris and Sam Huard, and safeties Alex Cook and Julius Irvin.

As of Tuesday morning, 94 children had paid the $65 filing fee — with Morris, Huard, Cook and Irvin splitting about 90% of the proceeds.

(Montlake Players Camps is not affiliated with the Montlake Futures donor collective, which is organizing its own camps and events this summer, but Hedgcock said Montlake Futures helps promote their camp and “we’re all on the same page.”)

They chose youth camps, Hedgcock added, because “there’s real value being created there. It gives back to the community. It just checks a lot of boxes.”

It also allows players with less public pedigrees to benefit.

“You could pool the athletes and really benefit from having a guy or two as the face (of the camp), but also a couple of guys who aren’t necessarily the face but work at the camp and get paid the same amount,” he said Skuza, a Sumner native who played at UW from 2017-2021. “It’s kind of where we started from and where we’re going.”

Speaking of where they’re going, Hedgcock said they’re trying to organize an offensive line/defensive line camp for high schoolers in July — led by UW offensive lineman Geirean Hatchett. The idea is to use Montlake Players Camps as a mechanism for players to benefit while giving back.

“One of the guys that’s at the current camp was just like, ‘Hey, if I wanted to do clinics, could I run it through this[company]?'” Hedgcock said. “That’s actually one of our goals: Really, for anyone who wants to do it and has an idea, has a target age group, has a field that they’ve identified where they want to do it, yes, we help them do it.

“That’s why we literally called it ‘Montlake Players Camps.’ We wanted it to be available to anyone who wants to take the initiative. We see it as a resource for them.”

Granted, it’s not a massive money-making venture. (Hedgcock acknowledged that he has no plans to personally benefit from the camps.) Nor is it an excuse to pay recruits six figures, as some competing programs can.

“If there are UW donors that guys are doing huge business, great,” he said. “It’s just not my niche or what we can do with it.”

For Skuza, who earned an economics degree from UW and currently works as a finance representative for Fidelity, his role at the Montlake Players Camps offers a different kind of fulfillment.

“I figured why not?” he said. “It’s something I can do on the side and it’s something that keeps me connected to the UW community. I’m a big UW fan. I’m a Dawg for life. i’m bleeding purple I love the program. I love what you have done for me. That’s what I’ve done in my five years there, I just gave myself to this program.

Together, Hedgcock and Skuza pass on.

“They have some really cool opportunities (as a student athlete) that nobody else has, so I don’t want to take that away from them,” Hedgcock said. “They get paid for college. You have a lot of it. But it’s almost like they have this full-time college job and this full-time football job, so they miss out on certain other opportunities that other students have – like work jobs or internships, it’s just very difficult for them.

“It really is: it’s a desire to give back to the community and a group of people who have always placed a lot of value in my life. Granted, it’s not the same group of people I saw growing up. But they are in a similar position. It wants to continue to engage in these relationships where we do the (financial) internships and mentorship here. But to see them grow and take on those things is fun.”

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