This week, renowned AFL midfielder Simon Black enters into the final round of reality TV Show, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders. Audiences around the country are on the edge of their seats, waiting for the final outcome.
At first glance, reality TV may seem a big step away from Black’s distinguished career.
Drafted by the Brisbane Lions in 1997, he quickly became one of Brisbane’s best players. He went on to win the 2002 Brownlow Medal, the 2003 Norm Smith Medal, and the 2001, 2002, and 2006 Merrett-Murray Medals, as well as receiving three premiership medallions, before retiring from the AFL in 2013.
He’s since gone on to establish the Simon Black Academy in cooperation with Torrens University, and is currently the Contest Skills and Midfield Coach for the Brisbane Lions.
When you take a closer look, however, the jump from sports to Survivor isn’t such a big leap.
Just like AFL, the Survivor series sets up contestants in competition against each other, performing tasks designed to test the limits of their endurance. Not one to shy away from a challenge, when Survivor asked Black to participate, he found he couldn’t say no, stating at the announcement of his decision:
“I’ve watched the show and was always intrigued by it. I’ve always been competitive and wondered how I’d go on something like it.
The combination of physical and mental challenges seemed like something that would stretch me as a person. The gamesmanship will be a big challenge, but I am very excited to get out there and I am going to do my absolute best.”
The inspiring, can-do approach to excellence that Black brought to Survivor, he’s also brought into the courses he designed, at the Simon Black Academy.
Based on the highly successful American College System, the Australian Institute of Sport and AFL Elite Academies, the Simon Black Academy was established with one goal in mind: to produce absolute legends across the diverse world of sports.
“What is really important to us (at the Simon Black Academy) is that the Australian Rules Academy is open to players of all levels – not just the elite. The program is designed to develop student-athletes into elite players with the credentials to take their careers from the change-room to the boardroom.
We don’t just want our student-athletes to be drafted to the AFL or SANFL. We also want our student-athletes to be the next round of CEOs, Administrators, Marketing Professionals, Nutritionists and Sports Coaches. Whatever the path they decide to choose, we can provide the opportunity for them to achieve their goals, both on and off the field.” Simon Black (From the Academy News, 2019)
Combining the three pillars of athletic training, personal development and sports management qualifications at a university level, the academy offers students an opportunity to be champions on and off the field.
For aspiring male and female football players, the Academy offers elite level training, strength & conditioning, nutrition and well-being programs, in conjunction with a university style curriculum. While attending the Academy, student-athletes will study a Diploma of Sports Development (Elite) in the first year and then have the option to move onto a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) in their second and third years with the Academy.
“We’re proud of our partnership with the Simon Black Australian Rules Academy. We believe it’s important for the student-athletes to pursue their passion and achieve the best level of AFL they can, while also understanding the need to have alternative career opportunities, which can be provided through a quality education.”- Torrens University Vice Chancellor, Professor Justin Beilby
The Diploma of Sports Development has been developed to give the best education possible to student athletes. While training, students learn the foundations in business management, industry knowledge, health and nutrition that you need to begin your career in sports. Subjects include:
- High-performance training and injury management
- Human nutrition
- Coaching practices
- Sports marketing
- Introduction to sport management
- Developing sports participation
For those students who want to learn more about the business side of sports, you can transition into a bachelor degree while continuing your training.
When you successfully complete your diploma, you automatically receive 80 credits towards the Bachelor of Business (Sports Management). This means that you’ll graduate from your degree even faster and can head straight into a football career, while still receiving your elite athlete training.
The Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) will cover practically every topic you need to know, if you’re going to have a career in sports beyond playing football. The course is designed to complement your training, so it can be completed flexibly, online, and at your own pace. Some of the subjects you will cover include:
- The business environment
- Corporate communications
- Marketing and audience research
- Event venue management
- Sports events
- PR and communications
Every student will also undertake an AFL accredited Level 1 Umpire Accreditation, and a Level 1 Coaching qualification. Plus, you have access to your very own personal success coach, to help you achieve your best results in study, and in the game!