GREEN BAY—Packers punter Tim Masthay has a plan for his post-graduate education that he began working on a couple of years ago.
This week's trip to the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business is another step toward those long-term goals.
Masthay will be among 28 NFL players participating in the four-day "Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program" on the Notre Dame campus that begins today. Through the weekend, Masthay will be studying topics such as financial analysis, investing for impact and business plan development with Notre Dame faculty and business leaders.
Masthay said he talked with teammate John Kuhn, who attended a similar NFL program at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania a few years ago, and decided he wanted a taste of full-time graduate work in business.
"I remember him saying it was like a little mini four-day MBA," Masthay said. "That was the academic attraction to me."
Masthay isn't looking for a shortcut, though. He actually wants to earn an MBA when he's done playing football, and possibly at Notre Dame, so if the intro goes well this weekend, it could play a key role in his future. For him, an MBA would go nicely with the master's degree in sports administration he continues to pursue through an Ohio University online program. He's nearly halfway done with that.
His ultimate goal – aside from punting for the Packers for as long as he can – is to become an athletic director on a college campus. Masthay grew up in academia with a college professor for a father, and he has never lacked for interest in athletics.
"I just love sports," he said. "When I was in high school I played four sports – football, soccer, basketball and baseball. Loved every one of them. I enjoy being around sports and enjoy being around athletes and coaches."
If it takes a while for that second career to arrive, that's OK with Masthay. He just finished his fourth season as the Packers punter, with the last three ranking among the best in team history in various categories.
In 2011, Masthay set a franchise record with a 45.6-yard gross punting average. His 38.6-yard net average that year also was a franchise best, dating back to when the statistic was first recorded in 1976, and the last two seasons he has topped that with 38.9 and 39.0 net marks.
Masthay also tied the franchise record in 2012 with 30 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
Depending on how long he can keep it up, Masthay could state his case as the best punter in team history. For now, he's just focusing on continuing the upward arc to his career.
He has spent the majority of the offseason back home near the University of Kentucky, punting and kicking at his alma mater, regularly visiting a yoga studio and working out in his in-home weight room. There's been plenty of time set aside for family, too.
"My daughter just turned two," he said. "We've been having a ball with her."
The Packers' offseason workouts begin on April 22, and Masthay plans to return to Green Bay full-time by then. Actually, he'll be back a week early, for jury duty of all things, but fortunately that civic responsibility is falling right in between his education and football commitments.
"I see this as an opportunity to check out the campus and check out the business school," Masthay said of the Notre Dame venture, which he will chronicle in a blog that can be followed on his Twitter account. "Just to get exposed to, hopefully, what studying business at the graduate level will be like."