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Online hub celebrates and assists former student-athletes

Career center, sharing success stories part of mission for NCAA After the Game

To recognize the millions of former student-athletes and their achievements, the NCAA has started After the Game, a new initiative that celebrates their accomplishments beyond the competitive arena of sport.

"With the introduction of this online hub, the NCAA is collectively recognizing its former student-athletes on a large scale for the first time in its 108-year history," said Bob Williams, senior vice president of communications.

"Perhaps the greatest contribution college sport has made to the world," Williams added, "is the former student-athlete."

"Taken as a whole, their contributions to society are staggering," he said. "Better yet, many credit their academic and athletic experiences as being the key to their success in life."

A quick peek into history shows former NCAA student-athletes have served at the highest levels of government, jurisprudence, the military and society. These include at least six U.S. presidents (Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush); Secretaries of Defense (Bill Cohen) and State (Madeleine Albright); U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson; four-star generals, admirals and Medal of Honor winners such as H. Norman Schwarzkopf, William McRaven, Jonas Ingram, Ann E. Dunwoody, and current Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, and Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. Others have made major contributions in the fields of business, finance, medicine, science, education, transportation, logistics, philanthropy, the arts and almost every other human endeavor.

The new site is more than a celebration or simple recounting of what former student-athletes are doing now, Williams said. It is designed with many features that benefit the former student-athlete. For example, the site can help them find jobs, advance their careers, establish business and social connections, and reconnect with their alma maters and the NCAA, all while coming together to learn from each other and share common experiences and backgrounds.

Career Center

In addition to written and video updates on former student-athletes, the key feature to the site is a career center tailored to promote connections between former student-athletes and employers interested in hiring them. Former student-athletes seeking jobs at all levels can post their resumes, look for employment and get job-seeking advice.  

Prior to launching, the NCAA team working on this initiative spoke to prospective employers, many of whom indicated they believe their businesses would benefit from hiring former student-athletes. They cited the experiences, life skills, and lessons learned during collegiate competition as skills they would like their employees to have. 

“Many of the prospective employers we spoke with said they would love to hire former student-athletes who have learned to be leaders, to manage their time wisely, to persevere in the face of adversity and to work as part of a team for the greater good,” said Monica Miller, the project leader and an associate director at the NCAA national office. 

Surveys and focus groups show a career center is the No. 1 service former student-athletes want when visiting the page. “We think we have put together a special place for former student-athletes in search of their first job, their last job or those who are just looking for a career change,” Miller said.

NCAA After the Game also features tips on how to stay healthy, where are they now trivia, and illustrations of how former student-athletes continue to give back through worthwhile charitable causes. It also provides easy ways for former student-athletes to connect with their undergraduate campuses. 

On the social media side, the site also links to the NCAA After the Game LinkedIn networking group, which has nearly 25,000 members.

“We know many member schools do a good job tracking and highlighting their former student-athletes,” Williams continued. “We certainly want to encourage them to keep doing that, but we felt the time was right to provide this recognition on a national scale.”

Visit NCAA After the Game here.

Learn more about the Former NCAA Student-Athlete Career Center here.