The West Virginia football team will get a head start for building their brands as a result of a partnership with brand marketing consultant and author Jeremy Darlow.
Head Coach Neal Brown teased the partnership in a Zoom conference at the end of April, stating his intention was to educate his players on how to properly go about building their personal brands on the heels of reported proposed rule changes by the NCAA. Brown and his program have turned to Darlow and will use his book, The DARLOW Rules, as a sort of textbook in the process.
“Our football players will be learning how to build their own brand from a person who wrote the book on the subject and is an individual who has worked with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment,” Brown said. “We’re excited to provide that level of expertise to our players.”
Darlow is a leading brand marketing consultant who has written the best-selling books “Brands Win Championships” and “Athletes are Brands Too.” His client list ranges from schools like Notre Dame, UCLA and Texas A&M to stars like Snoop Dogg, Lionel Messi and Aaron Rodgers.
“The goal is to teach athletes how to build personal brands that set them up for success in life, regardless of what happens in sports,” Darlow said. “Too often athletes are defined entirely by their athletic careers without developing influence in other areas of passion. My goal is to change that.”
This will be a part of Brown’s “5th-Quarter Program” which is part of his initiative to build his student-athletes as a complete person both on and off the field. Branding is a component in the program under “Real Life,” along with such pillars as character development, leadership development, social responsibility and career development.
“What we did was try and get in front of this,” Brown said. “It’s about education and educating our players on how to take advantage of that. What is a brand? What does it look like?”
West Virginia is the first program in the Big 12 Conference to partner with Darlow, along with just the second Power Five University nationally.
“My mission is to teach athletes how to create a personal brand and reputation that sets them up for life after sports,” Darlow said. “I’m proud to work with West Virginia, which believes in preparing their student-athletes for life after college.”