Every year more than 460,000 college athletes compete while pursuing an education, and each spring thousands of them receive their diplomas. It’s a moment to celebrate.
Only a fraction of student-athletes will go on to play professionally, so for most, graduation marks the end of their athletic careers. They will use the lessons learned along the way to pursue careers in medicine, communications, education, business, athletics administration and many more fields.
Additionally, in the past 11 years, more than 14,300 former college athletes who left without graduating have returned to campus to earn degrees. NCAA rules allow schools to fund scholarships for these returning students, and we know many of them come back. Also, the NCAA established a degree-completion award program to help former college athletes graduate. The award provides them with an amount equivalent to tuition and fees and a book allowance.
This month we celebrate all student-athlete graduates. By competing in college sports, they have learned important skills such as leadership, time management and teamwork, which will prepare them for life after graduation. These college athletes succeeded on the field and in the classroom. Now it’s time to conquer the next chapter in their lives.