Having athletes learn entrepreneurial skills has made sense for years — not just since laws changed to allow it. The thrust of such applied academic endeavors ought to be available to all student athletes, not just ones who can brand their standout skills. Most college athletes are not standouts but still devote well over 20 hours a week to their sport. This dedication can also be pointed toward self-directed career opportunities.
While teaching a required management course to seniors and master of business administrations students at the UW, I devoted part of the time to basic skills for growing successful side jobs or “sidelines.” My students loved crafting their own ideas into potential part-time entrepreneurial businesses. Imagine how engaged student athletes might be if enrolled in similar courses.
Before retiring, I offered a waterfront summer learning laboratory for 35 college athletes. Following two weeks of entrepreneurial-skills training, they spent the summer applying these skills to managing a small boat training and rental program. It was hugely fun, successful, and with no participant injuries.
It is time for universities to pick up the torch.
Jim Clark, Seattle