After the last buzzer, once the fans have gone home, student-athletes are faced with transitioning from one tough job to another.
The student must separate from the athlete, who is required to go to time consuming practices, games, travel and mandatory study sessions, in order to prepare for life outside of NCAA sports, because only a few will go onto play for pay after college.
But there are those that did use their NCAA careers to continue in professional sports, like former Seawolf hockey stand-out, Matt Shasby, who signed a NHL contract with the Montreal Canadians after college. Shasby is now playing his first year as a defenseman with the Alaska Aces, and said hard work is what will get student-athletes to the show.
“Work your absolute hardest because it is more of a step up than you think it is,” Shasby said. “You can’t take it lightly and you just gotta prepare for the toughest situations.”
After hockey, Shasby will be looking for a career in coaching or teaching, though he wants to play a couple more years.
Mike Scott and Vladimir Novak are also former UAA alumni currently playing for the Aces. Ex-Seawolf Lee Green plays in the ECHL, for the Las Vegas Wranglers.
Rusty Osborne, UAA men’s basketball coach, said 22 Seawolf alumni have played ball abroad for a living. Seven of those men are currently playing professional basketball.
A pattern is emerging for the student athletes who cash in on their educations. Osborne said many of his athletes, who did not go on to play professionally, now work in business-related fields.
“I would say usually about one-third of our team each year is studying some type of business,” Osborne said.
Staying away from the business trend, sophomore and men’s basketball forward Joe Davis is focused on playing college ball and earning a degree in physical education.
“My main plan is (to) leave with a degree,” Davis said. “If I have a chance to play abroad anywhere I probably would take it, (but) I mean that’s not my main goal.”
Whatever he chooses, the job market for Davis’ major is blooming.
Employment in sports-related fields will grow faster than average through 2014, according to the 2006-07 Occupational Outlook Handbook of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics. This includes athletes, coaches, and related workers such as athletic trainers and referees.
The Bureau attributes this trend to the public’s continued participation in organized sports for entertainment.
Because many of the professional athletes do not play long enough to earn the money needed to last for the rest of their lives, universities have begun developing programs to help the lifestyle adjustment.
Quinnipiac University (Conn.) was the first school to develop a program, the Professional Athletes Transition Institute, which focuses on helping athletes get started in a career outside of the sports arena.
For more information about PATI visit: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x3083.xml.