WVU, Robinhood Partnering For Financial Literacy Program

Oliver Luck (right) talks to WVU faculty members.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Now more than ever college student-athletes need guidance when it comes to their financial decisions.

As scholarships awards grow, including the recently announced opportunity for those individuals in good academic standing to receive an additional $5,980 per year, and Name, Image and Likeness profits become more common, student-athletes need to have an understanding of how to handle their finances.

Thus West Virginia University is partnering with the stock trading app Robinhood to launch a financial education program for Mountaineer student-athletes starting next fall. WVU will become the first Division I school in the country with such a course that will be available to all student-athletes regardless of sport. It will be required for those on scholarship and an option for walk-ons.

“We are very excited for the partnership between Robinhood Markets, the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, and our Athletics Department to provide a financial literacy education class to all incoming student-athletes,” WVU director of athletics Shane Lyons said. “We have always made it a priority to offer these types of educational services and career path seminars to our athletes in the past, but this takes it a step further to provide class credit in a classroom setting. Preparing our student-athletes for life after college is one of our top priorities as a department, and I am confident that the education provided through the financial literacy course will play a key role in helping our student-athletes develop the skills necessary for success in the future.”

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The collaboration with Robinhood came about when the company was looking to partner with an educational institution, and it discovered WVU’s John Chambers School of Business and Economics was already putting together the pieces for a financial literacy program.

“We had worked with Amy Pridemore (WVU’s director of the center for financial literacy and education) a number of months ago and started having conversations with her about financial education,” explained Mary Elizabeth Taylor, who is the vice president for external affairs at Robinhood. “It’s been a great partnership. Our plan is to continue to scale this. We’re going to find the right partners across the country to expand, but really this is the template. This is the first step, and we’re excited by what we’re doing.

“What shined about this program is the history that Amy and Naomi (Boyd, the Chamber School’s assistant dean of outreach, innovation and engagement) had in building it from the ground up,” continued Taylor, who prior to joining Robinhood 16 months ago was the assistant secretary of state with the bureau of legislative affairs in the U.S. Department of State. “We want to make sure we’re tapping into what is right in the specific community. We want to make sure we’re attacking the need in the right direction in terms of what the community needs.”

While the financial education will also be extremely helpful to student-athletes following their graduation, in today’s world, they also have an opportunity to earn money during their college careers that those in past generations never dreamed of. So, there is an immense need to understand how to handle their finances while they are still in school.

WVU president E. Gordon Gee speaks at the ceremony announcing the partnership between West Virginia University and Robinhood Markets.

“The opportunities that await student-athletes and will come to more and more of them in all sports, the ability to have a baseline understanding of financial literacy, I think, is critical,” said former Mountaineer director of athletics Oliver Luck, who was at the ceremony announcing the partnership of WVU and Robinhood. “It’s not just to make sure you pay your taxes, which is also important, but also how to invest and the value of money today compared to next week or next month or next year. This could certainly help those students already engaged in NIL. It won’t be everybody, but a lot will, and this is a great opportunity for them to better understand the financial market and things like the beauty of compound interest.”

Before Luck was one of the founders of Country Roads Trust, which is helping Mountaineer student-athlete procure NIL opportunities, before he was the A.D. at West Virginia University (2010-14), before he was the commissioner of the XFL (2018-20), before he as an executive vice president at the NCAA (2014-18), before he was the president of NFL Europe (1996-2000), before he was a graduate of the University of Texas law school (1987), Luck himself was a student-athlete at WVU (1979-82).

“My recollection is we didn’t make anything,” chuckled the former Mountaineer quarterback, thinking back to the scholarship checks at the time. “We did have summer jobs. I worked for a coal company for three summers when I went to school here, and we got paychecks, so we needed to know some of the basics. The opportunities today, though, are completely different than what was available in the ‘70s and early ‘80s.

“Any Mountaineer that uses up their eligibility will ideally move into a professional setting, and that’s a big chance,” noted the Cleveland, Ohio, native, who spent six years as a player with the Houston Oilers after graduating from West Virginia as an academic All-American. “In some cases, they are dealing with a lot of money and in other cases not as much, but still there are some big decisions in front of them. I was fortunate that I was able to go to my parents for guidance, and they helped me figure that out, but not every kid has that kind of resource.”

For all, being educated on finances can have a major impact on an individual’s future. Despite often earning millions of dollars in their playing career, there are reports that nearly 85% of all pro athletes will face varying degrees of financial difficulty in their post-playing life. The financial literacy course developed by WVU and Robinhood will hopefully spread and help people make wise decisions with their money.

“My sense is that fiscal literacy as a program is very scalable to many schools,” explained Luck. “In a sense, the students at WVU are no different than the students at the University of Texas, the University of Florida or others. They are all in a very similar position, and they all have the opportunity that heretofore they didn’t have, which is go generate revenue from their name, their image or their likeness, or all three. I would think there is a real opportunity to spread this financial literacy program to all Division I universities and down into the lower levels as well, because I think it makes sense for virtually everybody.”

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    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Now more than ever college student-athletes need guidance when it comes to their financial decisions. As scholarships awards grow,
    [See the full post at: WVU, Robinhood Partnering For Financial Literacy Program]


    “that will be available to all student-athletes regardless of sport. It will be required for those on scholarship and an option for walk-ons.”

    Only available to student-athletes?
    Is this legal?

    Does an athlete need to pass the course to remain eligible?


    That course should be mandatory for ALL students.


    Butlereer I agree 100%.


    Are the NIL recipients required to have legal representation before entering into any agreement?


    Only available to student-athletes?
    Is this legal?
    Does an athlete need to pass the course to remain eligible?

    1) Yes
    2) Of course
    3) No


    1) YES …. why? This could be a huge benefit for any student. Especially ones that are making money off of their social media.
    2) Of Course …. and should be available to ALL students.
    3) No …. WHAT!!! Is this a Dook or UNCheat type class for athletes only? This type of course is vital to their future financial stability. Take it till you pass. Don’t be stupid. If you can’t pass a class like this you don’t deserve to be on schollie.


    If only there were courses offered at WVU to teach things to enrollees like finance, taxes, business……


    And those students in most Liberal Arts don’t have these in their carriculum.


    Those students are free to choose to take whatever course they wish.

    Maybe grasp the financial ramifications of providing such a service, not to 300 athletes, but 30,000 students.



    Maybe offering this type of course that would benefit ALL students would be a great idea. How many kids graduate with NO IDEA how to navigate finances. No wonder so many end up with mortgage size debt after graduation. 1st semester FR year requirement may shock some of these kids into reality instead of making them think it is OK to spend with reckless abandon in school then cry that they can’t pay it back and need their loans forgiven.


    Again, pay for it how?



    Make it one of the required electives inaceof the crap they make you take to fill up the 120 hours to graduate. Back in the day I took 18 hours of Psychology to fill electives because they were easy A’s. Easy enough to move those teaching resources around.


    Making electives required is something that is set by each individual college in the University. It will never be something driven by the athletic department.

    So here we are talking about something that the self-sustaining athletic department is doing for the benefit of its student-athletes, and instead of celebrating that, we’re driving the discussion towards some whiny garbage about everyone in the school not getting the opportunity to take classes that have been in the catalog since before we were born.

    You go to college to learn responsibility. You have the ability to choose your own path in the college you attend. Aside from the requirements to get the degree in the major you choose, you have a full year’s worth of electives in that program.

    Choose wisely


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Home Page forums WVU, Robinhood Partnering For Financial Literacy Program

Home Page forums WVU, Robinhood Partnering For Financial Literacy Program