NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Sports management is a tough business, especially if you are a female, but Ashley Danielle Allen aims to change that.
“You know, it’s a male-dominated industry,” said Allen, director of player relations with a3 Athletics, a full-service sports agency representing football and golf athletes. “You are going to have to have a little bit more just to compete with the guys.”
Trying to have ‘a little more’ to be competitive has kept the mother of three young children busy on multiple fronts. But on May 3, Allen took a break and celebrated a major achievement. She was among nearly 250 students who received degrees when Tennessee State University held its spring graduate commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. Allen received a master’s degree in sports administration.
“I am really excited about receiving my graduate degree from such a great institution,” said Allen, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business at TSU in 2008. “For a longtime, I knew I wanted to go back to school. I looked at the surrounding area for competitive programs. But TSU was kind of home for me, and I received good advice, and I am glad I listened and came here.”
In addition to her master’s degree, Allen, who previously wanted to be an NFL agent, is also pursuing a law degree at Nashville School of Law. She has more than 10 years of experience in professional sports – from being an NFL cheerleader to managing player relations.
“I decided to get my master’s because I thought I wanted to be an NFL agent, and in order to be an agent you needed to be a lawyer or have a master’s degree,” said the Nashville native.
At a3 Athletics, she helps NFL and PGA players with community relations regarding activities off the field. Among them, currently, she is conducting 10 football camps for such players as Kevin King of the Green Bay Packers, Terrell Dean of the Arizona Cardinals, and Cameron Irving of the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I put on their camps and handle any appearances throughout the off season, and any appearance efforts they want to do throughout the season. A lot of the players are really focused on the game during that time,” said Allen, who also coaches the Tiger Gems at TSU. “I really love helping kids. Seeing the kids’ faces from hosting camps for players just makes me very happy.” Her children – two girls and a boy, ages 14, 7 and 4 – travel with her to the camps.
Before going into sports management, Allen was a former Titans cheerleader. After two years with the Titans in 2009, she stepped down, but stayed active with the alumni association, later handling media relations for the group.
“We worked together with the coach in terms of tryouts and other events throughout the year. I networked as much as I could, but I did not want to cheer anymore. At that point, I decided that I actually wanted to do something in the management role, especially as an agent,” said Allen.
That’s when she says she decided to pursue her master’s degree, and subsequently, law school. She started work at a law firm, whose owner was also a sports agent. Allen says she would like to one day negotiate contracts for players.
“That’s my favorite in law – contract law – which is what my intention is in the long run with my law degree,” she said.
Allen said she also wants to give back to her alma mater for all she has received from TSU.
“The relations I built being in sports for over 10 years have really helped me, and I can use that as leverage for my institution,” she said. “As a way of giving back, I would love to help the university more once I leave, like seeking internship opportunities for TSU students with my agency. I love to teach, even if I have to go get my doctorate. I would love to come back and teach.”
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