All I want for Christmas is My Undergraduate Degree

December 19th, 2017 | by Jonathan Yates
All I want for Christmas is My Undergraduate Degree


At the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics event in October in Washington, D.C., NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke of research finding that about three-quarters of D1 basketball players, half of D2, and one-quarter of D3 all expected to play professionally.

In reality, it is less than one percent who will make it to the National Basketball Association.
Fortunately, for the other 99 percent, there are programs like Complete Carolina at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  From teaching at the University of Iowa this Fall and personally witnessed, there is no doubt that the level of support for the academic success of all student-athletes in Hawkeye Nation is impressive thanks to the efforts of Gary Barta, the Athletic Director.  What makes it truly incredible are programs like Complete Carolina that focus on helping players earn their degrees who have left school.  Complete Carolina is for “..student-athletes who leave Carolina before completing their undergraduate degree, no matter how long they’ve been gone…assists them in returning to Chapel Hill and achieving academic success.”
In a recent interview, Bubba Cunningham, the Athletic Director for Chapel Hill and architect of Complete Carolina, rightfully pointed out with great pride that Marvin Williams, who now plays with the Charlotte Hornets, was the only “one and done” player from the college ranks to come back and finish their degree.
Williams joins more than 13,000 other former student-athletes who have returned to D1 schools to finish their degrees after using up their athletic eligibility.  There is nothing for the school to gain financially by doing this for the former players.  But many colleges make major efforts in reaching out and accommodating them in every way possible to help these former players, both male and female, become an individual of letters, both academically and athletically.
Assistance is also received from pro teams, too.
The Miami Dolphins led the NFL last year with the number players returning to school in the off-season.  According to Kaleb Thornhill and Yves Batoba, who head this effort for the Dolphins, the players are very competitive in the classroom, too.  When one graduated, more were inspired to match or top the effort, many times fulfilling promises made to loved ones that they would complete their college degree.
An athletic scholarship to an American school is the best deal in the history of college sports for a student-athlete.
It can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. According to an article in Forbes, future earnings can be $2 million higher than for those without a degree
That is why millions from around the world sacrifice greatly in hopes of earning a degree from an institution of higher learning in the United States thanks to going full boat for playing a sport they love.  Universities in the USA are the best in the world and a major part of that is a result of superior athletic departments that bring out the best in the classroom from its student-athletes.  This is why Dr. Wallace Loh, President of the University of Maryland, has deemed the athletic department the “front porch” for the way it brands the institution globally.  It is also why no one has ever turned down an athletic scholarship for college in the USA to graduate nearly $40,000.00 in debt like the average student.
The most important part of a college athletic scholarship is the academic opportunity and unparalleled support for the student-athlete to maximize it, although this is not the focus of much of the sports media.
But thankfully it is for dedicated administrators in college and the pros.  It certainly is too for student-athletes and their families.  Few student-athletes will go on to play professional sports.  But all receive tremendous support in finishing their college degree if they are responsible.  Thanks to programs like Complete Carolina and professionals at UNC, Iowa, the Miami Dolphins, and many other entities, this can take place after the athletic eligibility is long gone.

Jonathan Yates About Jonathan Yates
Jonathan Yates spent much of his career working for Members of Congress in a variety of press and legislative posts. Positions he has held working for Members of Congress and state legislators include Chief of Staff, General Counsel, Legislative Director, Press Secretary, and Legislative Assistant. His journalistic work has appeared in such periodicals as The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Investor's Business Daily, and TheStreet, among others. He has degrees from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown University Law Center; and has also matriculated at the U.S. Naval War College and The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Jonathan also hosts The Culture of Sports You can follow Jonathan Yates on Twitter at @politicsports13

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