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Were you prepared for life after sports and what would you do differently while you were in school?

Delles Howell

Grambling State University
1966-1970
Football
NFL Veteran
Director of Parks and Recreation, Pastor

When I was in college back in the 60s, I really needed more counseling that would have prepared me for my professional life. I received great classroom, academic, and athletic training, but when I entered the NFL they didn’t have all the assistance that they do today to help players prepare for the future. Universities can do more to assist student athletes with preparation for their lives and careers after sports. Counseling and support should begin when students are being recruited in high school.

Katherine Graham

Louisiana State University
2007-2011
Women’s Basketball
College Coach

No. There were a lot of things I was not prepared for because everything was taken cause of for us as athletes. I would do it all over again, but I would seek more opportunities to get involved in campus activities (sororities, job fairs, student organizations etc.) In college you have a prime opportunity to network with other students who will one day be CEO's, doctors, lawyers, etc and I wish I would have built more relationships outside of other athletes while I had the opportunity.

Raja Bell

Florida International Univ.
1994-1999
Basketball
NBA Veteran
Host of NBA Crossover and Choppin it Up
CBSsports.com

I was semi prepared for the real world. I didn't have a plan set in stone... I knew a couple things that I would be interested in trying. Transition wasn't that difficult. Finding ways to channel competitive nature was a key... golf, team mamba. I would have definitely networked better while I was still playing.

Tombi Bates

University of Florida
1997-2001
Women’s Basketball
Physical Education Teacher, NCAA Women's Collegiate Basketball Official

No, I don't feel I was as prepared as I should've been. I knew what I wanted to do as a career, however, I didn't have a plan as how to obtain that position. Which in rerun made my transition somewhat difficult. I experienced both success along with a few struggles. I struggled with now that my career ended, I didn't know how to be a "normal" person. Throughout my college career we were so well taken care of that adjusting to everyday real life was a bit difficult. Luckily, I received an offer to join the staff of the assistant coach that recruited me. If I had to do it over again I would focus more on my academics and less on athletics. Although I appreciated the opportunity to play basketball at the highest level, I now understand that the student part outweighs the athlete part significantly. I wouldn't have allowed myself to be discouraged from my initial career due to possible schedule conflicts between classes & practices.

Gregory Hill

Louisiana State University
1995-1997
Football
Oil Field

No I wasn't prepared for the real world. I didn't have a plan and my transition was very difficult! Yes, I would do a lot of things differently. I would schedule my own classes, not trust and depend on the coaches as much as I did, do things for myself and pay more attention to my academics!

Nykesha Sales

University of Connecticut
1994-1998
Women's Basketball
WNBA Veteran
College Women’s Basketball Coach

When my career was over i was not prepared for the real world. I had no experience in anything, didn’t know what I wanted to do after basketball, didn’t know what to expect in job interviews and searching for job ideas. My transition was difficult because I didn’t have a plan and didn’t know who to turn to for help. Not having been taught how to come up with a plan early made it difficult. I was not prepped and prepared. If I could do it again I wouldn’t wait till my professional career was over to figure it out. I would have figured it out long before.

Ethan Howell

Oklahoma State
1995-1999
Football
Insurance Adjuster

No. I didn't really have a plan. My transition was difficult because I didn't know where I would live or what job I would have. The factors to this struggle was living accommodations and daycare for my new born son while my fiancé and I went to work. If I could do it all over, I would definitely have an immediate backup plan with job interviews and more interests in various fields.

Evan Howell

Grambling/Oklahoma State
1995-1999
Football
Insurance Adjuster

Yes. Yes I had a plan but the transition was difficult. The factors that contributed to the struggle was not having any money to jump start me with finding my own place and having to go back to my parents home. I would have stayed at the school where I was on scholarship and would not have had to pay thousands of dollars back to the government for choosing to leave a full ride and go walk on at an out of state school.

Ty Frazier

Louisiana State University
1995-1999
Football
Chef

It's a reality that when most athletes stop playing sports they have no idea what they want to do or can do because they've been playing sports all of their life. I was one of those athletes, extremely smart and gifted athletically and sports was my life, so when I stopped playing, I really had to do some soul searching and find out what really made me happy besides sport, cooking was it. Growing up in south Louisiana cooking and good food was everything, so I started at the bottom, went back to school and got my bachelors degree in culinary arts, and started cooking and cheffing. To make a long story short, 13 years later my catering company does 25-30 events a month with several corporate clients across the Dallas metropolitan area including The YMCAs, Park N Recreational , Dart Rail Line, Dallas Chamber of Commerce and several more. I've spoken at several middle schools and elementary schools on this exact issue and I'm extremely passionate about it because our people really need to know, there is a wonderful life after sports.

Justin Jemison

Jackson State University
2013-2017
Football
Enrolled

If I could do it over again, I would schedule my own classes and track my own progress towards my degree instead of letting someone else do it who wasn’t really concerned about me graduating and obtaining my degree.