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The Millionaire Student-Athletes – Are They Prepared?

The Millionaire Student-Athletes – Are They Prepared?
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What initiatives should schools establish in the wake of seismic changes in NCAA policies on compensating student-athletes, particularly regarding their responsibility to foster the maturation of these student-athletes? Please join the conversation!

The Millionaire Student-Athletes – Are They Prepared?

Reflecting on my time on the University of Michigan football team and our development as student-athletes, it’s hard to fathom the impact of the money that will be in the hands of today’s student-athletes. We had no experience in managing finances nor the understanding of the maturity required to handle the financial responsibility that comes with the money.

Since the inception of large financial contracts being granted to young athletes, we have seen the wealth at an early age delay in their maturation. Too often, those with large contracts at an early age have had to file bankruptcy by the age of 30, a time when they were supposed to be building a foundation for future financial security.

At FS/A, we often are asked to work with children of clients to help them “find themselves” to help them on a journey to identify their foundation for greatness. Who are they when at their best?

Who we are when performing at our best has four parts:

  • Our Purpose that motivates us to do
  • Our Vision for what we hope our Purpose will make possible in time
  • Our Values/Guiding Principles for how we work with others and like being worked with when at our best
  • Our competencies that enable us to compete and win uniquely

This clarification is easier the longer the trail through the jungle of life. We have great success in helping those over 35 years old see who they are when at their best and help them honor that best self for natural success.

Understandably, younger people do not have enough experiences for wise decision-making. They are at an immature stage of life when they appropriately compare and compete to win as they build their competencies to help them in the future.

Financial Responsibility

Too often, we see the mindset of “This financial reward was pretty easy. Wait until I really apply myself!” This perspective comes with little understanding of how rare a situation they are in, as they do not see their situation in perspective. They see what they have and too often, what they do not have compared to someone else.

In The Shift from Me to Team, we use the Four Stages of Fulfillment framework to illustrate that maturation occurs with experience over time. At Stage II Fulfillment: Learning, Growing, and Competing, we seek achievement, recognition, and success for ourselves as we build our competencies. Unfortunately, the joys from Stage II success only last months, and the reward must increase. There is no winning at this stage because someone will beat us at our game, and ultimately, we feel defeated, bitter, and even depressed.

The question regarding financial responsibility is, can young people who are supposed to be living at this stage to compete and win ever be satisfied with their compensation?

Their Identity and Self-Worth

Who we are at this age is still in development. Some young people have a greater understanding of who they are and greater self-esteem than others. In general, at this age, we are insecure and look to others to reinforce who we are, rather than looking inside ourselves for reinforcement of our values and who we are meant to be. This desire to please others becomes a bigger challenge when our newfound wealth attracts new friends who seem to care about us. Only through time, do we learn whom we can trust, whom we cannot, whom we should partner with, and those we should stay away from.

The insecurity of who we are can become unsettling with a lot of attention at a young age. How do we handle this with so little perspective, experience, and understanding of what is happening?

The Increased Role of Universities

Universities play a crucial role in shaping students to be responsible and productive members of society. The recent NCAA rule changes allowing universities to compensate student athletes provide new opportunities; while noble, they also come with responsibility and expense.

How universities respond will tell us a great deal about their commitment to the development of young people who will have a positive impact on their communities.

Let’s have a dialogue over the month of June:

 What initiatives can athletic departments at colleges and universities employ to facilitate the maturation of their student-athletes, with the responsibility that comes with their newfound income and responsibilities?

#Leadership #Team #ShiftFromMeToTeam #Purpose #Vision #GuidingPrinciples #NCAA #StudentAthletes