TLS Talent Agency is announcing the start of a new division, TLS Sports, and will focus on helping historically black colleges and university (HBCU) athletes become professionals.
According to Black Business, TLS Sports will run independently from the talent agency under the direction of managing director Charles Stinson. The division will focus on HBCU athletes who are looking to fulfill their dreams of playing professional sports. TLS’ Services will include representing professional athletes with negotiating contracts and endorsement deals.
The 2020 NFL draft last month saw only one player from an HBCU school drafted; Lachavious Simmons who attended Tennessee State University. Simmonds was picked in the seventh round by the Chicago Bears and 227th overall.
One reason for the lack of HBCU players drafted was the HBCU combine, a yearly event for college football players from HBCUs to workout and meet with NFL coaches and scouts was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, 51 athletes from HBCU schools participated in the 2020 NFL combine, a weeklong event featuring more than 500 prospects hoping to be drafted. The Undefeated also reported that 32 HBCU athletes made opening day rosters in the 2016 NFL season.
Philadelphia 76ers forward/center Kyle O’Quinn is one of the few NBA players that attended an HBCU. O’Quinn averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds during his senior year in 2011-2012. Norfolk State made the NCAA Tournament that season as a No. 15 seed and upset the No. 2 Missouri Tigers.
“We are excited about the launch of TLS Sports and looking forward to helping those who attend historically black colleges or universities that aspire to make it to the next level but are overlooked. Our goal is to approach the business in a different way because the athletes can relate to us in a different way,” says Cicero Leak, CEO of TLS. “The launch of TLS Sports will also help those who attend HBCUs provide them an opportunity to get into the business as well, helping further the next generation.”
Last week, NBA veteran George Lynch, Tracey Pennywell, and a litany of celebrities and comedians hosted Tech 4 COVID, a two-day virtual telethon to benefit HBCUs and students of color at various colleges and universities.