After winning this year’s NCAA men’s basketball national championship, Tony Bennett, University of Virginia head coach, recently declined a raise and, instead, donated $500,000 to a career development program for Virginia men’s basketball players. The program will notably help former student-athletes. In fact, in a recent survey, 62 percent of our member athletics directors, believe career services is the most important area that institutions should be required to provide to former student-athletes.
Virginia’s program will include career interest assessments, resume building, LinkedIn profile development, mock interviews, networking activities, informational interviews, as well as arranging career mentors, externships, internships, and actual jobs. Many of our other member schools have established similar career development programs including my alma mater, Maryland’s, “Gossett Center,” Utah’s “UTE Academy,” South Florida’s “Enhancing U Program,” Temple’s “Verified Program,” Arkansas State’s “Job Placement Program” and many others.
These programs are important given that fewer than two percent of NCAA student-athletes become professionals. Further, recent studies have shown that many top-level executives at some of our country’s largest companies are former student-athletes. So kudos to Tony Bennet as well as our member schools, emphasizing career launching programs, in addition to just degree completion.