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Should Colleges Provide Financial Literacy Programs to Athletes?

by Shannel Douglas

 

In the ESPN documentary Broke, former athletes like Andre Rison discussed the pitfalls of being young, rich and financially illiterate (Photo courtesy of ESPN).

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

 

 

Every year, selected college athletes get the once in a lifetime opportunity to play at the professional level.

While for many this may be the greatest moment of their lives, for some, this is only the beginning to the end.

Countless athletes find themselves going broke because they simply do not know how to manage their new lavish income.

Many question whether or not colleges should prepare these athletes for life after college with financial literacy programs.

“In my opinion, a lot of players go into professional sports not used to dealing with the amount of money they start receiving,” said 24-year-old Ryan Roy. “When people start receiving a certain amount of money it seems like more responsibility is tacked onto them.”

This is one of the main causes for concerns when it comes to new athletes. Many of them have not experienced dealing with a great deal of money and now have to be able to manage their own expenses.

More money, more problems isn’t just a song but a reality for many. Along with more money comes more people expecting hand-outs. 

“Athletes go broke so quickly after they go pro because the rags to riches mentality is so extreme rather than gradual and manageable,” said 24-year-old Dominick Ambroise. “Some of these kids go from poverty lifestyles, maybe playing sports for their very livelihood, to the upper echelon of (the) economic food chain and that’s a huge change in responsibility and burden.”

Financial literacy programs can help these college athletes excel beyond the field or court. Just like how a college would help train the athlete and make sure they are good physically for their collegiate and professional careers, they should also make sure that they will also be OK financially outside of their school walls.

It would help athletes learn to keep and expand the money that they earn rather than spend it without a second thought.

A college providing financial literacy programs also brings up the discussion as to whether or not college athletes should be paid.

By providing them with some sort of financial benefit while they are in college, they will more than likely be better prepared for when they get to the professional level and get paid millions.

“I believe if there existed some type of monetary compensation in college where the kids/student athletes can manage what it’s like to actually make money prior to making millions, rather than getting chastised and penalized for even the notion of such financial exposure, there can at least be some type of learning curve to experience what it’s like to suddenly be making money; money that’s enough to not only take care of yourself, but everyone around you, said Ambroise”

With all of the money and revenue that college athletes bring into colleges across the nation, many believe that it is only right for colleges to provide some sort of financial benefits for its players.

With their demanding schedules, the sports that they play in college along with their academics are the only thing these players can manage. If the sport is taking up all of their time whereas they cannot even afford to get a job, it is only right that they help provide for the students that are providing them with so many benefits.

“Sports bring billions of dollars and huge enrollment into universities for the players to just struggle financially with being a student athlete,” said Roy.

Financial literacy programs will be very beneficial to athletes getting ready to go to the professional level.

Many athletes end their professional careers going broke because they don’t have any idea how to manage their finances. Colleges have a responsibility to its students to help prepare them for the real world.

College athletes are no different. By providing them with the resources of financial literacy programs, they will be able to better handle their finances and better prevent their athletes from ending up like many professional players that end up making millions one day, and broke the next.

This article was published on Friday 28 December, 2012.
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