Alumni in the Industry: Eric Galko '17
Eric Galko Esq. (VLS ‘17) is the founder and president of Optimum Scouting and was recently named the Director of Football Operations and Player Personnel for the East-West Shrine Bowl. The former Villanova Sports Law Society member has become a significant resource within the NFL scouting community. Optimum Scouting is a consulting service that offers scouting, analytical and research information to members across the football industry, including NFL teams and NFL agents. The East-West Shrine Bowl is one of the preeminent college football all-star games in America. Galko will have a significant role in deciding which players are selected to play in the game.
Eric Galko has loved football since his days as a quarterback in high school. Like the overwhelming majority of high school athletes, Galko knew that he would not go pro. However, he did know that he wanted to work in professional football and find a “real purpose in the industry.” In the early stages of his career, Galko spent time working in a variety of roles within the sports industry. He started by working in media with Bleacher Report and ESPN before eventually working at the NFL and with football agents.
Galko’s working experiences gave him the insight that he needed to discover “a need in the industry for how agents scout players.” When he was working with football agents, Galko observed that the most crucial task for an NFL agent was deciding which players to sign. Each player that the agent signs is an investment into that player’s future. Initial costs to represent a player can range from $20,000-$100,000 depending on how much time the athlete wants to spend on pre-draft athletic training and other miscellaneous costs. Galko observed inefficiencies in the agent’s scouting processes. “A lot of NFL agents were relying on NFL scouts or websites to make major financial decisions. I realized that I can help combine this information and make it more digestible.” This prompted him to create Optimum Scouting. His mission was to streamline the scouting process to help agents and teams make better scouting decisions.
One of the initial ways that Galko made Optimum Scouting unique was incorporating analytics into the scouting process. At that time, few teams and even fewer agents were using analytics when scouting players. Galko himself does not have an analytics background. However, he preaches the importance of finding “actionable information and being able to communicate it properly so that people in football can use it.” Today, Optimum Scouting has branded itself as an analytics-first operation and they have successfully integrated the use of analytics into all of their football decision-making processes.
Optimum Scouting is continuing to differentiate itself in the sports industry by finding new ways to add value. When NCAA rules changed on July 1st and permitted student-athletes to begin profiting off of their name, image, and likeness, Galko saw a new need in the industry. He teamed up with the current President of the Villanova Sports Law Society, Austin Meo (‘22), to expand Optimum Scouting. Together, they founded Optimum Sports Consulting, whose purpose is to educate athletes, administrators, and agents on the best practices within the burgeoning NIL landscape. As Meo described, “The long-term plan is to begin consulting. It’s a small operation, but we think we can have a big impact in the NIL space moving forward. We hope to continue to expand.”
Even after having been successful with Optimum Scouting, Galko realized that a law degree was still in his best interest. “I came to the conclusion that adding a legal degree would make me that much more valuable to potential clients. It helped me add a unique perspective to the industry.” As a Villanova Law student, Galko was providing contract negotiation insight as part of his role at Optimum Scouting. Shortly after graduating from VLS, he assumed a role working with the XFL, which was a startup football league separate from the NFL. “I don’t work at the XFL without a law degree.”
Galko’s advice to Villanova Law students who are seeking to work in sports is to take pride in creating a wide connection base, and to be willing to do unpaid work for educational benefit. In 2015, Galko assisted someone for free at the WWE whom he had previously developed a relationship with. This experience led to a recommendation in 2019 to Oliver Luck, which is how Galko landed a job working with the XFL. “You never know when the good work you did will come up and help you. The more people that understand that you can do great work, the better.”