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Tribune-Review (Greensburg, PA)
Demetrious Cox has two jobs that keep him busy on and off the football field.
Most days, the former Jeannette and Michigan State standout is a defensive back with the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. He has been traveling with the team of late.
The rest of the time he works as a tour guide.
Cox and his father, Dorsey, have taken on a new nonprofit business venture they are calling, "Educated Athletes First," an informative and interactive program designed to help student-athletes and their parents prepare for a college career and beyond, with an emphasis on the importance of academics.
It's a team effort to help eliminate the fears and uncertainties of the next level.
"We want to take EAF in a direction to where kids can come in to reach with resources they never knew possible," Demetrious Cox said. "Student-athletes and their parents either aren't aware or don't know how to benefit from these resources."
The target audience, Dorsey Cox said, is children ages 8 to 14. EAF aims to light the way for aspiring student-athletes down the recruiting path from middle school to college and help build "a successful educational career."
If any of their participants make it to college for sports, the Coxes want them to be as well-versed as they are athletic — even more so if they need to turn to Plan B.
"I have talked to so many parents, and when I ask them what their kids are going to go to college for, they say football or basketball," said Dorsey Cox, the president of the Jeannette Midgets youth football program. "The last time I checked, there are no degrees in football. Education is more important than sports. Our goal is to assist in the student-athlete in getting a college degree from the beginning to the end."
The program is free, but parents must sign an agreement to get started.
EAF has partnered with the Jeannette School District for a study skills program. Dorsey Cox said more than 20 teachers have offered to tutor students.
"The biggest concern we had from a school district perspective has been solved by EAF," Jeannette superintendent Matt Jones said. "Both parents and students are held accountable. The biggest issue we have is the parents are not always supportive or see the value in education. EAF provides opportunity for students through this platform but also brings with it a level of accountability to support the academic efforts of the school. If parents are not on board, they cannot receive all the benefits that EAF has to offer."
The program, however, is not exclusively for Jeannette student-athletes. The plan is to open it to all areas.
"We want to expand," Demetrious Cox said. "There's no telling how deep this foundation could go with helping kids reach their goals and dreams to start in my hometown of Jeannette, and get kids involved in all types of new projects involving camps, to tutor sessions, to college visits."
Having gone through the recruiting process, Demetrious Cox and his father have an understanding of the nuances and procedures many are not prepared to face. They can offer guidance — tricks of the trade, if you will — to lay out a long-term gameplan that stretches beyond the field or court.
Demetrious Cox graduated early from Michigan State.
Dorsey Cox said he and Demetrious researched colleges for months and made visits, all while looking for educational benefits as well as football ones.
Parents and students have to do their homework.
"People think it just happens," Dorsey Cox said. "But then they get there, and they are shocked and under-prepared. We want them to know what to expect."
EAF not only plans to oversee the educational part of the journey, but also help with physical training, getting athletes' names on college coaches' radars and introducing them to key contacts at colleges. The plan also is to take students to college and pro games.
For more information on EAF, contact Jana Stevens at 412-738-9593.
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