For many college athletes, this is the last season of their careers, last goals they will score, last road trips with the team, last practices and the few months to decide about their future.
Student athletes work hard to be successful on the field and in the classroom as well. With sports consuming much of their time, a lot of people think athletes will go on to continue their sports career and play professionally after college.
However, research conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association found that only 1 of 25 student athletes will play sports competitively after they graduate college.
The NCAA has several requirements to keep the athletes eligible; preparing them to be successful in the future even if they do not continue their sports career after college.
All student-athletes must have at least a 2.3 GPA, take at least 12 units a semester and practice hours are limited during the season, especially during finals week.
“The NCAA system is very strict and demanding, which I like because without it university sports in America would not be so great and appealing,” said Priscilla Orozco, former assistant coach of California Baptist University’s women’s water polo team.
The USA’s college sports system is recognized around the world, but what is next after college for athletes?
There are well-known professional leagues such as the NFL, MLB, NHL and the NBA, but these leagues provide careers for only some college sports.
Aleksandar Sasha Milovic, CBU alumni basketball player who is currently playing in Albacete, Spain, was asked about his professional career.
“This is my job now,” Milovic said. “It is such a great feeling to do what you love to do the most and to get paid for it, but at the same time, it requires a lot of work on and out of the court as well.
“All these things are beautiful and make me happy, but sometimes my day is even busier than a college day during midterm exams.”
The best players have the chance to make it to the national team, and possibly get offers from overseas teams.
Whether an athlete continues playing after college or not, everything they gain during their four-year career can help them be successful after graduating. The experience they have can give them many opportunities to find a job after college.
The memories of a goal, a game and a career will last — even after they hang up their jerseys.