Big Data Bowl Mentorship Program

Introducing the NFL's Big Data Bowl Mentorship Program

As part of the NFL’s annual Big Data Bowl, NFL Football Operations is introducing a new mentorship program to increase diversity within sports analytics by connecting experienced NFL analytics experts with interested beginners. Mentors and mentees will work one-on-one, starting with the 2020-21 Big Data Bowl, to contribute to the football analytics community. Participants whose work stands out could earn the right to present at conferences, contribute to blog posts and submit their work during Big Data Bowl. Although there are several groups underrepresented in sports analytics, the first iteration of the mentorship program is open to women and African American candidates.

Mentors and Mentees

Mentors for the 2020-21 Big Data Bowl program were selected based on their analytics backgrounds and commitment to advise mentees as they start their analytics journeys. Mentors include former and current NFL team data analysts and front-office representatives and staff members from NFL analytics partners. Mentors will provide technical and non-technical advice throughout the duration of the program.

Mentees will have the opportunity to use the 2020-21 Big Data Bowl data set to learn more about how data science, statistics or a related discipline can contribute to the NFL’s continuing evolution in the use of advanced analytics. No background in analytics is required — only a willingness to code. We invite women and African American candidates to apply to the 2020-21 mentorship program.

The program

Individual mentorship

Mentors and mentees are matched by the NFL Football Operations team based on their knowledge, skills and location. Mentors are expected to provide encouragement and advice, both in and around data science. Mentors and mentees will virtually meet at least once a month during the nine-month program that runs from September 2020 through May 2021.

Group training seminars

The program includes both individual meetings and monthly group training sessions. These seminars will cover football analytics topics, including:

  • Life with an NFL team
  • Working as a league vendor in data science
  • Media or business analytics
  • Graduate school

Each training session will consist of a presentation, Q&A and an open forum.

Code of conduct

Participants in the 2020-21 Big Data Bowl Mentorship Program are required to abide by the following rules:

  • Conversations should remain productive and respect personal and professional boundaries
  • Comments or actions that are offensive, sexual in nature, or intimidating are prohibited in any form
  • Mentees are instructed not to solicit confidential information
  • Mentors and mentees will not publicize their relationship unless both parties consent
  • Monthly meetings are a minimum commitment for both mentors and mentees. If this cadence is not sustained, participants may be removed from the program
  • Anyone in violation of the above is subject to removal from the program