As Sean Nuernberger prepares for his final season as Ohio State’s kicker, he’s also preparing for a future career in the courtroom.
While Nuernberger’s lengthy career playing football for the Buckeyes is nearing its end, he still has a long way to go in his education, as the economics and computer science major plans to attend law school and pursue a career in intellectual property law.
Nuernberger believes his experiences as an Ohio State football player – both on and off the field – will go a long way in pursuing his post-football career.
"You learn so many things, and so many people don’t realize the things that you do learn," Nuernberger said in April while attending Ohio State’s annual scholar-athlete dinner. "The life skills from football, the time management and stuff is big for all sports, and I think that really helps prepare you in the classroom. The discipline to prepare, you’re preparing really all year for 12 Saturdays, 13 Saturdays … I kick thousands of balls throughout the year, just to kick maybe 50 that really count. So I think the preparation aspect is a big thing."
A fifth-year senior, Nuernberger has been solid in each of his three seasons kicking field goals for the Buckeyes – making 33 of 45 attempts – all the while never missing an extra point (not including blocked kicks). Nuernberger has been even more consistent in the classroom, though, earning Ohio State scholar-athlete honors for four straight years and Academic All-Big Ten honors for three straight years.
In total, the Ohio State football team had 33 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and 40 school scholar-athletes this past season – among a record 692 total scholar-athletes for the school – and Nuernberger believes that is a product of the culture within the football program, starting at the top with Urban Meyer.
"Coach Meyer really emphasizes the stuff off the field; as intense as he is on the field, his off-the-field is just as intense, really," Nuernberger said. "From our Real Life Wednesdays, pushing the jobs after and kind of stressing how important the grades are in order to get a job and get hired after school ... he pushes us in the classroom, has guys making sure we’re going to class, we have great advisors and staff so they make sure our grades are good, give us the tutors we need, so I think all the resources that he and the athletic department provide really help."
“You learn so many things, and so many people don’t realize the things that you do learn.” – Sean Nuernberger on the benefits of playing football at Ohio State
The stories of Real Life Wednesdays helping Ohio State football players prepare for future careers off the field have been well-documented – Armani Reeves, Camren Williams and Trevon Forte are just a few of the recent examples – and Nuernberger is already reaping the benefits as well.
One such benefit came during one of this past spring’s Real Life Wednesdays presentations, when Luke Fedlam – an attorney who leads the Sports Law Practice Group at Columbus-based law firm Porter Wright – came in to speak the Buckeyes about the meaning of intellectual property and the value of protecting their personal brands.
#RLW 5: Attorney @LukeFedlam informed the Buckeyes on the benefits of protecting your personal brand and taking opportunities to capitalize on your passions utilizing the power of Ohio State and beyond.#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/3UO5wwERN0— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) April 7, 2018
"That was awesome," Nuernberger said. "And that’s kind of the same kind of stuff that I want to do. And that kind of really hit home for me. And I’ve talked to him since. He was kind of talking about coming in and protecting athletes, specifically their brand, and that’s like kind of the exact – I don’t know if it’s athletes really that I want to work with, but it’s the same kind of thing. Protecting people’s brand, their ideas, things they come up with, so that was a great presentation."
Nuernberger and several of his teammates – including Branden Bowen, Jonathon Cooper and Terry McLaurin – later had the opportunity to visit Fedlam’s firm in May. Nuernberger and fellow kicker Zach Hoover also had the opportunity to visit Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter – another Columbus-based law firm – in June.
#RLW - What an amazing experience for our guys to visit Porter Wright Law Firm hosted by @LukeFedlam. The guys heard from multiple speakers, including former NFL quarterback @davidgarrard9 #RealLifeWednesday #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/CjK178E2q0— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) May 31, 2018
Nuernberger says he wants to pursue a career in intellectual property law because he wants to help facilitate and protect people’s ideas.
"I’d always been in computer science, and I’ve always been interested in the technology side, and I think over time … I just kind of found the passion for people that create these ideas," Nuernberger said. "Everything nowadays is in the tech space, really, all the new inventions, all the new ideas. I think having that background will really help set me up to do well in that field. But yeah, just a passion to help others, kind of help protect other people’s ideas."