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- Ryan Stamper, a former football player at Florida, had trouble finding a job after graduating because he never had time to gain any work experience or develop interviewing skills while playing football.
- His experience shows how playing Division I sports can be such a big commitment that athletes often can not fully reap the benefits of being students.
- Stamper is now an assistant for his old coach Urban Meyer at Florida who has started a program called Real Life Wednesdays to help his players address their post-playing life.
In a feature from Bruce Feldman in Sports Illustrated about Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his attempts to help his players deal with life outside of football, current Buckeyes assistant Ryan Stamper – who was formerly a player for Meyer at Florida – revealed how much trouble he had finding a job when he graduated college and his life no longer revolved around football.
Proponents of the current college sports model of unpaid student-athletes often cite the value of a free education that athletes get as a defense of the system.
But as Stamper’s comments attest, the time and commitment that big-time college sports demand from athletes are so overwhelming that they actually deny student-athletes many of the opportunities normal students have, opportunities which would make it easier for those who do not play professional sports to transition to the real world.
“I didn’t know how to interview,” Stamper told Sports Illustrated.
“I didn’t know how to dress for an interview. I didn’t have a résumé. I didn’t have nothing. I’d gotten a degree, but a degree isn’t enough. As football players, you spend a whole lot of your time playing football. All of those things in between that a lot of those non-student-athletes get, you don’t because you’re spending all of your time with football.”
Meyer, for his part, appears to be serious about helping his players prepare for the real world during and after college sports. Feldman’s feature details how Meyer’s program has Real Life Wednesdays, in which the program will have speakers come in and address the students on topics such as business or even mental health.