Taking a long view of the collegiate athletic experience

by Jack Warren, editor of Athletic Ops and host of the Ops Nation podcast

The collegiate athletic experience is significant, particularly as it constitutes an added value to that experience. Quite often, the typical college student may look to other organizations, such as fraternities and sororities for that added value or educational enhancement. Sometimes the desire to participate in a sport at the collegiate level often overshadows the obvious value that one will gain from that experience. Someone with a long term vision could clearly see that for their investment of four years (at little or no additional cost), there can be a significant career return.

Now, I could go on about this particular topic, but I wanted to use it as a launching pad to talk about a feature I saw on the Notre Dame website. This feature describes the annual Lacrosse team networking trip. In a nutshell, it’s a way to expose the sophomores and juniors to potential career opportunities and equally, if not more important, the opportunity to network with Notre Dame grads at various points in their professional careers.

Of course, this is Notre Dame. Of course, they have resources beyond the means of many colleges. However, the simple mention of this idea should spark ideas in your head, as part of an athletic support staff, about how you can enhance the long term development of your student-athletes.

Are you taking advantage of those that have come through your school’s pipeline years before and would love to help current students? Do you look at road trips as necessary evils or do you look to exploit the opportunities that may lie at the other end?

The opportunity that you provide to your athletes is far beyond that of the typical fraternity or sorority. And your athletes are typically not paying extra for it. Being able to clearly demonstrate this to prospective student-athletes is a huge selling point for those students and parents who understand what the educational process is supposed to embody. Can you paint a picture for them that extends well beyond the painted lines of the field or court?

Pay attention to the examples around you. Stay in contact with team alumni. Think about how you can add value to your team experience.

Read the article and see the video at UND.com.

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