Black Student Athlete Summit founder Leonard Moore speaks with attendees (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Black Student Athlete Summit (BSAS) brought together collegiate athletes from across the country to USC to build community and provide them with various resources.

“I like when we can come together and be vulnerable because a lot of people expect for us to be so strong,” said Texas State football player Christian Rorie. “We are, but at the same time, we have to be able to take care of our mental and emotional health.”

This event started nine years ago at the University of Texas with less than 100 people, it has since blossomed to be a resource for student athletes from over 100 universities. Founder Leonard Moore noted how the event is to provide helpful tools to the student athletes so they will have exciting and impactful lives beyond their playing years.

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“I would see kids on their recruiting visit, I would see them during their four years at the university and then I’d see them when the dream is over,” Moore said. “For so many kids, this is the highlight and the highlight of your life should not be between 18 and 22.”

Dr. Nickey Woods of USC Gould School of Law (left) engages in a discussion with BIG CEO and NBA icon Baron Davis (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

BSAS included panels that featured the likes of NBA legend Baron Davis, Atlanta Dream co-owner Renee Montgomery, Olympic silver medalist Teahna Daniels, and rapper Dee-1. Staff and faculty from various universities as well as executives who were once student athletes engaged in discussions about NIL, DEI, and financial literacy.

“I was here last year when it was right here on [USC], it was a mind blowing experience,” said Joshua Emmanuel who recently graduated from Texas State with a degree in psychology. “It was a great overall experience and it’s something more Black student athletes should come to.”

A discussion called “More Than an Athlete” resonated with Norfolk volleyball player Adlene Jideofor as she prepares to graduate. She plans to grow her hair styling business and give back to youth in her community.

“That continues to help and empower all of us at the end of the day,” Jideofor said. “That’s also another way that I can talk to athletes … get their perspective on what they think the NCAA could change.”

Student Athletes networked with job recruiters at a career fair (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

BSAS was powered by the sports marketing company Playfly, other sponsors included Invesco QQQ, Razorfish and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“In working with the BSAS team over the last three years, I have developed a true understanding of the overall mindset of the Summit leadership and have prioritized that when identifying brand partners for this event,” stated Playfly director of Client Strategy Jillian Forbes. “Brands that activate at the Summit have the unique opportunity to engage with this highly talented and valuable segment of students.”

The Summitt also featured a Prolific Impact Lab and Summitt Cypher, touching a myriad of topics including allyship, gender-based violence, and identity. Student Athletes were able to express their backgrounds and values among each other in the ElevateXperience.

They also got a chance to learn about the careers of former student athletes through their Pro Day break out sessions.

Attendees got the opportunity to talk to each other during the ElevateXperience (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“We want to expose them to other professional opportunities and routes but also who’s delivering that message? A former Black student athlete who they might be able to identify with,” said BSAS co-founder Devin Walker. “Sometimes that message lands a little bit harder.”

In previous years, Randy Paul attended BSAS as a student athlete and a volunteer. This year, he was a presenter as a content creator at ZIYNX. At his first BSAS, the topic was athletic identity foreclosure: an issue where student athletes feel their only worth is the effort they put into their sports, and people around them affirm that feeling.

“In those three or four days, we had to find tools that made sense,” Paul said. “That’s where I was able to learn that I’m more than whatever was in front of me and I could dream to be whatever I wanted.”

Zachary Byrge attended BSAS when he was a football player for UCLA. He returned this year as a dental school student at UCSF and a presenter of his future profession.

The Pro Day break out sessions allowed former student athletes to give back (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“You realize the impact of the Black Student Athlete Summit has had on you and then more broadly realize the impact that you can have on somebody else,” Byrge said. “I try to speak to students the way that I want to be talked to, I try to speak to my young self.”

The Pro Day sessions included former student athletes who have professions in law, tech, health care, the entertainment industry, and sports.

Current student athletes were also featured in panels; Brown women’s soccer player Layla Shell and Princeton football player Marc-Anthony Prescott participated in a panel of Ivy League student athletes talking about activism on their campuses.

BSAS allowed student athletes to network and share their values with one another(Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“It’s a really niche experience and it’s something that we want to keep talking about,” Shell said. “The Ivies, while they’re all similar in terms of academic rigor, we all really go through a lot of different experiences, so we wanted to highlight the diversity in that.”

This marked the second year Prescott attended BSAS to share his experience at Princeton. Going to BSAS taught him to be more confident in his own abilities.

“Before I came to the Summit, my thinking was how to survive at my campus,” Prescott said. “After I went to the Summit last year, I started thinking about ways I could thrive on campus.”

To learn more about BSAS, visit