March Madness Over, College Athletes Prepare for Future ‘Real World’ Careers

April 10, 2007

What becomes of student-athletes when their collegiate sports careers come to a close?

With less than one percent making it to the professional level, the vast majority move on to work in the “real world” – most of them largely unprepared for the financial challenges ahead. Nearly half of student-athletes in California say they have not yet begun planning for their financial future, according to a survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

Student-athletes at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University will be setting aside their sports playbooks for a personal finance handbook this week, as The Hartford brings Playbook for Life, an award-winning national education program to the two campuses on April 10 and 11. Developed in collaboration with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the program gives college students the basic financial knowledge required for personal success.

Playbook for Life serves as a wake-up call for many college students. The student-athletes surveyed in California anticipate earning a starting salary of $68,500 when they graduate – the highest expectation in the nation. In reality, the actual starting income for a graduate with a liberal arts degree in 2006 was approximately $31,000, according to a salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

To help dispel these misconceptions and point the students in the right direction, former student and professional athletes Nancy Lieberman and Allen Pinkett will share their personal financial fumbles and slam dunks, along with convincing reasons why they should begin planning now for the future. At both UCLA and Loyola Marymount, Bill Poutre, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and head coach of the NCAA Division I men’s golf team at the University of Hartford, will give students practical tips for getting their financial house in order – before setting out for the ‘real world.’

In addition to her own personal experience, Lieberman is a former coach and natural mentor to many young athletes. She understands the challenges and opportunities of transitioning to life after college sports. “By sharing my own financial mishaps, I can help students steer clear of the mistakes I could have avoided if I had something like the Playbook for Life at that critical stage,” explained Lieberman. “Knowledge of personal finance basics is an essential life skill; our mission is to empower students to make smart decisions that will lead them on the road to success.”

“My goal is to give these students something I never had during my college career,” said Pinkett. “I had plenty of direction when it came to sports and school work, but no real guidance on the one subject I would need to be smart about for the rest of my life – personal finance.”

The Playbook for Life presentation at UCLA is scheduled for April 10 at 7 p.m. in the Acosta Athletic Training Center. The event at Loyola Marymount will take place April 11 at 6 p.m. in the Pereira Hall of Engineering.

With the Playbook for Life program, students throughout the country can take advantage of the free resources available in the guidebook and Web site, www.playbook.thehartford.com. From understanding the risks of bad credit to budgeting for housing and living costs, the guidebook features practical, easy-to-use information on the fundamentals of personal finance needed to start planning for the future.

“We are pleased to be working with The Hartford on this very important initiative to encourage student-athletes, and all college students, to start thinking about personal finance before they graduate,” said NCAA President Myles Brand. “Regardless of the career path they choose, having the financial know-how – and a sound plan – will put them ahead of the game.”

Team Hartford – a group of former student and professional athletes who have found success both in and out of sports – have brought the Playbook for Life’s financial planning message to students at more than a dozen colleges and universities to date, in addition to UCLA and Loyola Marymount University, since the program’s inception two years ago. This month, the Playbook for Life will also visit UNC Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The Playbook for Life was created by The Hartford, as part of the company’s philanthropic focus on education and its corporate partnership with the NCAA.

The Hartford survey was conducted among 5,585 student-athletes in all NCAA divisions by Impulse Research in February 2006. It has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

Source: The Hartford
www.thehartford.com.

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