Pensacola, get ready to welcome a new company into the area’s sports scene.
Vantage Sports, a recent startup from the Tampa-area, is expanding its horizons and coming to the Panhandle.
The founder, Patrick Johnson, is joined by his partners Trent Schneider, a former University of South Florida punter and Pat Nasiatka, a former Ole Miss kicker.
Johnson says the goal of the company is to engage current college athletes with aspiring college athletes by hosting private training sessions and posting instructional videos.
“The relationship that the college athletes and younger athletes are able to build is one of the bigger value props,” Johnson said. “You aren’t working with a middle-aged coach. You’re working with someone who is in college now or recently graduated, has gone through the process and can instill that mentorship-type environment.”
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What intrigued Vantage Sports about the opportunity to come to Pensacola was its proximity to the University of West Florida. The region’s Division II school offers 16 varsity sports, all with well-renowned history.
The hope is that its athletes can offer tips and tricks of the trade to the next generation of upcoming competitors from the Pensacola-area, chock-full of NCAA-level talent.
UWF baseball standout Cullan O’Shea will be the first Argo to participate in Vantage Sports’ program
Now that vision is coming to fruition as UWF baseball standout Cullan O’Shea will be the first Argo to participate in Vantage Sports’ program. He will be hosting a private hitting and fielding lesson with a local high school baseball player.
The mutually beneficial relationship will allow the aspiring player to learn from a proven college athlete in O’Shea, who last season was named to the GSC All-Conference Second Team, GSC All-Tournament Team and GSC All-Academic Team. Then for his services, O’Shea will become one of many NCAA athletes around the country now profiting from the new name, image and likeness legislation.
The NIL rules now allow intercollegiate athletes to earn compensation for the use of her or his name, image and likeness, and prohibits post-secondary institutions from preventing athletes from earning money or goods.
“Originally there were only six states that were going to be able to let their college athletes partake in this sort of NIL thing,” Johnson said. “That was sort of where we focused on to start and we’ve trickled out of Florida a little bit, but still our focus is primarily on Florida. A state with a lot of colleges and youth and high school sports fan.”
Pensacola will likely be a bountiful location for Vantage Sports with its burgeoning prep sports scene. With many players on the rise in the region, the welcoming of this new sports development enterprise could push them above the top and make them sure-fire NCAA prospects.
As Vantage Sports continues to expand, it hopes to become a national brand as well as create a mobile app that’ll offer simple accessibility.
Lucas Semb can be reached at LSemb@Gannett.com or 850-281-7414.