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Universities need a new model for athlete education in the NIL era –

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Today’s guest columnist is Rick Burton from Syracuse University.

Is it possible that American universities are failing to provide a decent education to high-paid athletes? Which subjects already enrolled in the book would be most helpful to the young professional?

In other words, how should rapidly specializing college students approach the concept of education when they are earning millions?

I recently gave a speech at a gathering of Australian Football League (AFL) and National Basketball League (NBL) sports executives in Melbourne, Australia, and quite quietly declared that the word “education” is problematic. . It contained too many negative connotations for a young man who didn’t want his content to exceed his 140 characters or 2 minute video highlights.

Thankfully, the local media didn’t cover the university professor’s stone-throwing at the academy.Learning is great (and in movies animal house There is even an image that “knowledge is good”), but it’s hard to know how we should think about suggesting that someone get more or better education.

why is that?

Well, when teachers suggest getting more education, one idea applies. In fact, many readers at some point have asked, “Why do we need _______ (fill in the blank using the words French, physics, algebra, psychology, calculus, etc.)?” will admit ? ”

One Pat response argues that learning difficult things is good for an individual’s brain development. And the corollary to that response, whether difficult or simple, is that everything we learn (and when and how we learn) matters.

That brings us to today’s topic.

In the old days (before 1960), boarding institutions expected their students to take a wide range of liberal arts courses in literature, psychology, philosophy, science, mathematics, and, in some cases, foreign languages. . Its core, and ability to “learn how to learn,” will serve students for the rest of their lives.

They could learn the business (dirty language) from someone else if they needed to get their hands dirty.

today? Business education has become a highly demanded and privileged course of study. And now the small cluster of pre-professional athletes on American campuses is growing faster than ever, with a focus on tax shelters, investment portfolios, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), social media management, finance/accounting and an increasing number of Many other topics related to wealth.

These two phenomena may coincide. But what courses these young “executives” need to take and they must understand before they transfer to another school (a better cohort) or sign with a more elite professional league. Who needs advice on valuable concepts?

To be clear, this is not a discussion of the dark side of NIL. That’s actually his NIL spotlighted side, and today’s athlete has to turn on his jets and earn as much as he can, even though he’s not 21 yet.

Naturally, these college athletes still have to pay their taxes, monitor their portfolios, and make investments, but they’re already dealing with agencies and slick marketing firms. We have already built an employee base to manage personal appearances, as well as a newly established foundation.

This raises the question of whether colleges should consider athletes as desirable candidates for executive education programs. The most elite NCAA athletes are no longer traditional students. He can only play a year or two at his current school before turning pro or transferring.

To that end, forward-thinking universities will better serve these young professionals by offering soon-to-be-relevant courses. Wouldn’t it make more sense to provide a defined group class?

Or will residential academies be unable to accommodate exceptions and customize for highly successful individuals, so universities will downplay this unique student population?

But whatever the outcome, Power Five colleges need to remember: Teach her successful NIL student-athletes the subjects they need now, and they might look favorably later (when asking for alumni donations).

Rick Burton is David B. Falk Professor of Sports Administration at Syracuse University.his new co-authored book Business the NHL Way (University of Toronto Press) is now available. Australian sports He also serves as the North American COO of tech company Playbk Sports.