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Creating a platform that integrates a training program and business incubator can be a game-changer for the sports business ecosystem. It not only helps athletes develop their skills and knowledge in the industry but also provides them with the tools and support necessary to build sustainable businesses around their personal brands.

Well hope our discussion is well-aligned with the evolving nature of sports careers and the growing importance of entrepreneurship within the industry. It has the potential to shape a new narrative and unlock exciting opportunities for athletes on their path to success.  As of this posting, we’re happy to announce that Georgia becomes the 30th State to join this effort.



Johnny Cruz serves as the Director of Athlete Management NIL at The Network Advisory (TNA), a Los Angeles-based talent, brand, and venture advisory syndicate dedicated to propelling its clients through a vast and resource-rich network. With over two decades entrenched in the sports industry, Johnny recognized the rapid evolution of NIL in 2021 and astutely seized the opportunity when it became legally permissible for athletes to earn from their name, image, and likeness.

Johnny has not only established a significant presence in the NIL landscape but also boasts over a decade of experience in sports marketing. At TNA, the focus primarily revolves around nurturing high school and college NIL athletes, with notable names such as Malachi Nelson, Makai Lemon, Grant Gray, and Ceyair Wright. Their journey is shaped through innovative marketing strategies and lucrative partnership prospects, facilitated by Johnny and the TNA team.




Justin is CEO and Founder of The Network Advisory (TNA), a Los-Angeles based talent, brand, and venture advisory syndicate focused on accelerating their clients by leveraging an extensive and resource-rich network spanning over many decades. Justin has been integrated into the sports industry for over 20 years, and in 2020 saw the progression that NIL was making, and took full advantage of the opportunity when it became legal for athletes to get compensated for their name, image, and likeness.

Justin established a large footprint in the NIL space and has spoken at different panels on the subject including the Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfronts “Brands and Fans” panel at the 2023 Super Bowl, in addition to SXSW “Friday Night Rights: Name, Image, Likeness,” and the Trusted Advisors 2021 Summitt. TNA works primarily with high school and college NIL athletes, including: Malachi Nelson, Makai Lemon, and Rachel Glenn to develop their brand through innovative marketing and partnership opportunities. As NIL grows, so has The Network Advisory’s clientele, and the deals that Justin has brought to our athletes.


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Eric is the father of Malachi , he’s  been happily married to Naomi for two decades and is the proud parent of three wonderful children: Malachi (19), Jude (16), and Nevaeh (11). With a passion for sports, he has spent 14 years coaching, training, and mentoring athletes ranging from youth to college level. In addition to his commitment to athletics, Eric serves as the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel WestGrove, where he has dedicated 17 years to guiding and nurturing his congregation. Eric’s strong sense of duty is also reflected in his service as a Navy veteran.

Five-Star Plus+ USC quarterback commit Malachi Nelson, ranked No. 3 nationally in the On3 Consensus, has capitalized on the ability for California high schoolers to monetize their Name, Image and Likeness. Nelson, who attends Los Alamitos High School, told ESPN he has signed a NIL deal with The h.wood Group, a hospitality and lifestyle company based in Los Angeles.

ESPN reported Nelson is “expected to agree to nearly a million dollars in endorsement deals by the time he enrolls.”

Nelson committed to USC in late November, just days after USC hired Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams, who followed Riley to the Trojans through the Transfer Portal, is entering his sophomore season, which means Nelson likely projects to be Williams’ successor in 2024.

CIF bylaws are ‘not intended to restrict the right of… a commercial endorsement’

California is the first state that allowed high school athletes to profit off of their NIL.  The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) bylaws regarding amateur status have long allowed athletes to monetize their NIL, provided they don’t wear their school’s uniform or insignia while appearing in any promotional activity. The CIF bylaws, last revised in 2009, are “not intended to restrict the right of any student to participate in a commercial endorsement provided there is no school team or school affiliation.”

CIF spokesperson Rebecca Brutlagpreviously told Quartz these bylaws were created to allow the many athletes in the state who are involved in the film or commercial acting to maintain their eligibility.  California is among the states that produce the greatest number of elite high school prospects, particularly in high-profile sports such as football and basketball.

Malachi Nelson’s On3 NIL Valuation

Malachi Nelson’s On3 NIL Valuation is $736,000, as of June 21, which ranks No. 24 on the On3 NIL 100.  The On3 NIL Valuation is an index that looks to set the standard market value for both high school and college-level athletes. The NIL valuation does not act as a tracker of the value of NIL deals an athlete has completed to date. It rather signifies an athlete’s value at a certain moment in time.  The On3 NIL 100 is the first of its kind and the defacto NIL ranking of the top 100 high school and college athletes ranked by market valuation.


Jeffrey L. Thompson is an adjunct lecturer at USC Annenberg teaching digital transformation and strategy in the advertising, communications and media sectors. As an executive in media and technology, Thompson has participated in and led operational, marketing and strategic initiatives with companies including The Walt Disney Company, IBM, Conde Nast Entertainment and VC-funded startups such as Shout Factory, RNN TV and Parrot Analytics. His past roles include GM/senior vice president of RNN TV; VP, global business at the Walt Disney Motion Picture Group; VP, global diversity, Walt Disney Company, VP, Digital Conde Nast Entertainment, VP and director, Walt Disney Corporate and associate partner at IBM.

Thompson has been involved in developing operational launch plans and strategic initiatives for entrepreneurial startups in the media sector. Specifically, Thompson has been involved with three startups focused on disrupting current business models by advancing content distribution, social platforms, streaming content, content monetization and improving the ability to monetize content in U.S. and global markets.

These include leading edge marketing, product distribution and operational use cases integrating technologies that will continue to reshape the media and entertainment landscape. In addition, Thompson has the distinction of serving as The Walt Disney Company’s first executive responsible for diversity and inclusion across the world as VP, global diversity.

Thompson is a sought after thought leader who’s presented at Mobile World Congress, BBC’s World Showcase, Digital Hollywood and Consumer Electronics Show and has also been credited with producing creative content across television, digital and documentary categories.

Thompson serves on the Board of Advisors for Digital Hollywood and YDX Innovation and previously served as task force chair of Digital Entertainment Group. Thompson also serves on the Board of Directors of National Health Foundation in addition to NYC’s Latin Media Commission having been appointed by mayor Michael Bloomberg.


Johnson played high school football at Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California. He played running back and defensive back. Going into his junior season, he was regarded as one of the top three running backs in his region. His best season came as a senior in 2005 when he rushed for 2,197 yards on 247 carries with 22 touchdowns. He finished his high school career with a city record 5,777 rushing yards and 58 touchdowns.

A highly regarded recruit, Johnson was the No. 18 overall prospect in the country and the No. 2 running back by Rivals.com. He received offers from Florida, Miami, UCLA and paid serious attention to Georgia and Washington. He ultimately chose USC, noting that he liked the coaches and its proximity to his parents.

College career

During his freshman season, Johnson played in three games, rushing for 17 yards on three carries.  Johnson had a breakthrough in the 2007 season, finishing with 673 rushing yards and five touchdowns.  He ran for 122 yards and a touchdown in 14 carries against Washington before suffering a foot injury. The injury, which was first diagnosed a game earlier as a left foot bruise, included a sprain that kept him out of practices and limited his playing time for the rest of the season. He returned at the end of the season, rushing for 104 yards in the Rose Bowl.   As a junior in 2008, Johnson led the Trojans in rushing yards with 705 yards on 138 carries and nine touchdowns. He had 305 yards on 42 punt returns.

Professional career

After going undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft, Johnson signed a contract immediately after the draft with the Tennessee Titans. In his rookie season, Stafon Johnson was injured in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on August 15, 2010. His ankle was severely dislocated by an opposing tackler accidentally landing on Johnson’s planted right leg. He was estimated to be out for at least 8–12 weeks.[16][17] He cleared waivers and was placed on IR. He was released on September 2, 2011.  Johnson was signed to the Washington Redskins practice squad on December 28, 2011.



Dr. Norris Rashe Dorsey is the embodiment of what it means to operate in your gifts. A University of La Verne Leo through and through, Dr. Dorsey has received his Bachelor of Science Degree with an emphasis in Organizational Management, his Master of Business Administration Degree with a Concentration in Information Technology, and his Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. But more important than his achievements, is the journey that brought him here.

As a student athlete, his innate leadership skills were honed and led to his eventual Transition into Intercollegiate Sports as Head Basketball Coach for the Cal Lutheran Summer League Team (1999-2004). It dawned on him that coaching was simply teaching, on the court, so in 2001 he transitioned into the classroom and first taught Financial Planning and Labor Relations. Immediately, he felt at home in the classroom and became a resource for the Los Angeles Community College System, teaching all things Business Related. He also worked for the California State University System, at their Northridge campus, and for various University of Phoenix locations. As he continued to teach these varied business courses, one question would inevitably keep coming up, “How do you start a business.

Recently, The Dorsey Academy has partnered with various community organizations like: the Los Angeles Urban League, participating as a Keynote Speaker for their African American High School Graduation Celebration.    Dr. Norris Dorsey is also a published author with the following credits to his name: The Art of Inclusion: Success Stories of African Americans in the Nonprofit Sector (2005); Financial Accounting Lecture Notes Workbook (2007); and The War on Legal Cannabis: Just Say Yes (2019).

Dr. Dorsey believes that it is his gift to help others to uncover their natural talents, gifts, and abilities. Once they have discovered their unique purpose, each person is obligated to use what makes them special to make the world a better place. As a mentor, Dr. Dorsey has been helping youth and young adults to find their passion and to make an Impact, for decades. His passion is helping, and seeing others succeed is what brings him joy.


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Alix Azuike is a Screenwriter delivering satire crafted in immersive worlds to help the betterment of society. She is very confident addressing audiences and is more than willing to offer help where it’s needed. As a recent graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Television, Film, and Media, she is dedicated to bringing her perspective along with others to the screen.
Drawing from her Nigerian and Dominican backgrounds, she aims to incorporate the beauty of her own cultures while highlighting others, to facilitate the essence of coming together. Ultimately, she seeks to become a successful Showrunner and create critically acclaimed television shows.

It is her firm belief that in efforts to do so she should learn as much as she can from set experience in various departments. Working collaboratively with the crew for other projects is just as integral to her as working on a script or an intimate writer’s room.


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Shain’s desire to give back and show appreciation lead him to becoming an entrepreneur during his youth. As a child he advanced himself from one paid trade to the next. During his time at Rancho Cucamonga High School, Shain made the decision to pursue a professional career as an entrepreneur.

During the course of Shain’s involvement with many Network Marketing companies he realized the importance of Online Marketing when striving to achieve high levels of success. After much time and effort studying and practicing Online Marketing, Shain developed the ability to use technology to create systems that would dramatically increase the overall success rate of both Traditional Business and Network Marketing Business also.  Shain’s goal is to help as many individuals and families become financially free and live an overall better life. He’s pasionate about creating leaders that share the same vision of helping people achieve their dreams.