Apr 22, 2008, 05:46AM

Student-Athlete Myth

Collegiate sports that track to the pros offer a lucrative career for those athletes that make it. But the vast majority of these "amateurs" don't achieve that kind of success, and too many of them don't even get a degree to fall back on. A writer looks at Syracuse University's struggle with declining graduation rates.

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Photo by maveric2003

"I think for some kids they're just worried about being eligible (not graduating)," said Ryan Durand, a rising senior on the football team. "They haven't really figured it out yet. They think football is going to be it; football is going to take them to the Promised Land."

The 59 percent rate at which football players graduated was also the lowest in eight years.

"It has to be reminded to them sometimes that there's life after football, and you need to take care of your business in the classroom," said Kevyn Scott, who redshirted his freshman year. "I would get guest speakers, some who graduated and are in the NFL right now. Or, we have plenty of businessmen who played football here. Just get the message across, that's all."

Plenty of individuals are willing to chime in on what Scott called "some scary numbers."

Ferna Phillips, the director of Boston College's Learning Resources for Student-Athletes department, is bluntly honest with starry-eyed athletes.

"Only 1,500 people get to be in the pros, and you may not be one of them," Philips tells athletes. "There are 1.6 million people you're competing against. So let's be realistic."



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