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Career in Sports Forum

Each year, more than 460,000 student-athletes participate in 24 sports at more than 1,100 NCAA member institutions. Regardless of the sport they play (or how well they perform), student-athletes all have one thing in common when they graduate: figuring out the best ways to find a job.

The Career in Sports Forum, an annual educational forum hosted by the NCAA, brings together 200 selected student-athletes to learn and explore potential careers in sports, with the primary focus on college athletics.

In 2015, the forum re-connected Canadian high school classmates, who excelled at field hockey and golf on opposite coasts of the United States and wanted to work in sports after college.

This unique, four-day forum is designed to assist student-athletes in charting their career paths, as well as provide an opportunity to network and learn from current athletics professionals. As a participant, you will hear from a variety of speakers and panelists during large, general sessions, and throughout the program engage as well with your peers in focused, small-group classroom discussions called “Color Teams.”

The cutting-edge topics brought to you by industry experts include: how personal values intersect with career opportunities, how behavioral styles impact individual effectiveness, the key professional and career development information that assists with transition from a student-athlete to a professional, and the role of the intercollegiate coach or athletic administrator. You will also network with your peers, as well as the key decision-makers at the campus, conference and national level of college athletics.

Upcoming forums

The 2016 Career in Sports Forum will take place June 2-5, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the NCAA national office. More information about application deadlines, facilitation opportunities and the selection scoring guidelines will be posted in the near future.

The NCAA will provide hotel accommodations. All participants will be randomly assigned a roommate of the same gender at one of the above hotels. Participants should not contact hotels directly regarding their reservation.


There are new eligibility requirements for those interested in attending the forum. Starting in 2016, only junior and senior student-athletes are eligible to attend. Additionally, NCAA member institutions may now nominate up to five (5) junior or senior student-athletes to complete the online application. Institutions are strongly encouraged to consider diversity in the areas of sport, gender and ethnicity/race when nominating student-athletes.

Nominated student-athletes are required to have been athletically eligible, as well as participated, in an NCAA-sponsored sport during the current academic year. However, eligible student-athletes who will have graduated prior to the forum dates are also eligible to participate. Previous Career in Sports Forum participants are not eligible to reapply.

Nomination and application process

Athletics administrators are strongly encouraged to seek out student-athlete interest in the Career in Sports Forum, as well as speak to these student-athletes about their career interests and the program prior to submitting nominations.

Beginning February 22, institutions may nominate student-athletes via the “Nominator” tab in NCAA Program Hub by entering the interested applicants’ first name, last name and email address. [Note: Only those designated in the NCAA membership directory as director of athletics, senior woman administrator and student-athlete affairs administrator(s) will be able to access the “Nominator” tab. The email address of the above contacts must be the same in both the NCAA Program Hub and NCAA membership directory in order for the system to recognize them as such designations.]

Nominated student-athletes will receive an email that will direct them to the NCAA Program Hub to complete a profile and submit their application through the “Application” tab. [Note: Nominated student-athletes may access the application on the NCAA Program Hub and should log-in as a “Program Hub User” under the “Returning User?” option. By entering the same email address that they were nominated with and clicking “Password Unknown?” the nominee will be able to reset their password, setup a profile and access the application under the “Application” tab.]

All application materials must be submitted by the nominated student-athlete. The deadline to both nominate and submit all application materials will be Friday, March 25, 2016.

Cost of attendance

There is no application or registration fee associated with the Forum. The NCAA will cover the costs associated with lodging, meal and program materials. The only costs to the participants shall be hotel incidentals.

For those traveling to Indianapolis from more than 300 miles, the NCAA will cover the cost of flights, ground transportation in Indianapolis, parking at the airport of origin and baggage fees. Flyers who also have to drive to their airport of origin over 50 miles round-trip will be reimbursed following the program at 54 cents per mile via the online NCAA reimbursement system.

Participants traveling from within 300 miles of Indianapolis will be required to drive and will be reimbursed following the program at 54 cents per mile for mileage over 50 miles round-trip via the online NCAA reimbursement system. The NCAA will also cover the cost associated with parking at the hotel in Indianapolis.

Contact us

For more information about the NCAA Career in Sports Forum, please contact Justin Paysinger, associate director of leadership development, via email at or by phone at 317-917-6036.

Career in Sports Forum Key Dates

  • February 22, 2016: Application opens
  • March 25, 2016: Application closes
  • April 2016: Applicants notified
  • June 2-5, 2016: Program dates


“I liked the panels at Career in Sports Forum – all of them have been really helpful.  The social media session was the most beneficial for my transition because now I’m not considered a student-athlete any more – I’m a professional and a role model.”
Sareea Freeman
Florida State University>
Volleyball / Basketball

“These skills that we talk about at the NCAA Career in Sports Forum, you can transfer over from what you learned in athletics and apply to real life. Knowing you have something that’s teaching you these lessons and you get to dig and find them, that makes you a better person. ”
Karissa Kouchis
Western Illinois University

“Pretty soon I’ll be out there looking for a career, and I’m going to take what I learned here and apply it to my life: networking and meeting new people that will help me find jobs.”
David Gibson
Eastern Michigan University