Jarmal Bevels — entrepreneur, freelancer, co-founder, 2018 University of Richmond graduate and former student-athlete — tells his story of what it’s like to have many internships during his college experience, then give it all up to follow his dream career.
Bevels was a philosophy, politics, economics and law major, with a concentration in economics, and a visual media arts practice minor, he said. Bevels was also a member of the varsity football team, for which he played wide receiver.
During his time at UR, Bevels was introduced to SEQL, a platform that "provides every athlete an equal opportunity in the recruiting process regardless of race, location or social status for free," according to its website. SEQL is an online platform designed to connect prospective athletes with recruiting college coaches. Bevels' videos and photos that he took of different sports teams caught the eyes of SEQL’s initial visionaries.
Bevels was contracted for videography in 2019 by SEQL (the acronym stands for Sports Equality), which is designed to connect high school prospective athletes to a database of more than 61,000 recruiting college coaches, he said. SEQL also specializes in helping athletes recognize and enhance their name, image and likeness.
According to the NCAA, “name, image, and likeness” are the three elements that make up the legal concept called “right of publicity.” Right of publicity prevents unauthorized commercial use of athletes' name, image, or likeness.
Bevels had three internships during his summers as a UR student, he said. He interned at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center as an economic development intern, was a project intern within the Mary Washington Healthcare system and interned with the mayor of Richmond, he said.
Although Bevels enjoyed his internships, he knew that his true interest and passion was in media, he said. As a kid, he recalls going on long car rides with his dad and drawing in a sketchbook to pass the time but as he grew older, his creative interests transitioned from drawing to getting behind a camera, he said.
Outside of Visual Media and Arts Practice class assignments, Bevels often videotaped his friends and teammates, he said.
Bevels worked mainly as a freelancing photographer and videographer while at UR. He said one of his first films had been a horror film featuring one of his teammates.
Bevels said he eventually got the opportunity to earn an income from taking pictures and videos in sports settings, like games and practice sessions.
Fast forward to the present: Bevels sits as SEQL creative director. He recently signed NBA star Quinn Cook of the Los Angeles Lakers as SEQL’s first brand ambassador. SEQL has also signed DeAndre Hopkins,starting wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, as a brand ambassador.
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“It’s a testament to professional athletes wanting to do more than just play the game,” Bevels said.
SEQL strives to serve as the main branding education platform for the next generation of athletes, Bevels said. He also emphasized the significance of connecting people with collegiate and professional sports experience, such as Cook, to high school prospective athletes.
SEQL now serves about one-eighth of all high school athletes in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. area Bevels said.
When asked how much of what he has accomplished can be attributed to luck and how much can be attributed to hard work, Bevels said it can be split pretty 50-50.
“I lucked out by being initially reached out to, but it was hard work right after that," he said.
Bevels said he was working 60 to 70 hours per week during the early days of SEQL's inception but enjoyed the process nonetheless.
“If you do nothing, nothing happens,” he said.
Follow @the_seql on Instagram to keep up to date on SEQL's services and prospective student-athletes.
Contact sports editor Grace Mittl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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