Are NCAA athletes successful after college?

NCAA athletes have a 1% chance of having a professional athletic career.


Jenna Watson

69% of NCAA athletes graduate from college

Katarina Quill, Staff Writer

High school athletes have a 2% chance of becoming an NCAA athlete. NCAA athletes have a 1% chance of going pro after college. Most NCAA athletes quit their sport after college, since the chances of going pro are incredibly slim.

Studies show that college athletes are more likely to become successful in life after college. This is because college athletes learn to balance academics, athletics, and friendships, as well as being a part of a supportive team and community can all help with one’s success.

Success can mean many different things in this case. It can mean getting a career that’s not sports related, or going pro. I’m going to talk about both and what life after college looks like for a NCAA athlete.

More than 200 former/current NCAA athletes have participated in the 2022 winter Olympics  (Joe Scarnici)

Like I mentioned before 1% of NCAA athletes go pro. Think about it–that’s one Division One athlete out of one-hundred Division One athletes that get the chance to live out their dream. Of course going pro isn’t everyone’s dream, but it was definitely considered by most.

The NCAA may seem like the best/only gate to a professional athletic career, but it’s not. For example, there are many academies and programs for soccer that are specifically designed to help players have a better chance of going pro without college. MLS Next Pro academies (Major League Soccer) produce more professional soccer players than NCAA. College soccer is starting to become irrelevant for prospects because they are looking at academies similar to MLS Next.

14-32% of NCAA athletes have a career ending injury. Many are just not ready for the commitment of going pro. Many don’t want to go pro in general. There are so many more factors that contribute to the 1% of people that make it pro.

What about those who choose to go into a career that’s unrelated to sports? First of all they have to graduate. 69% of NCAA athletes graduate. Then they do what almost every college graduate does, which is to find a job/career. This may seem boring, but many people enjoy living everyday life without training countless hours a week plus school. Many athletes get burnt out before they consider giving a professional athletic career a chance. 

Florida University has produced the most professional athletes

Let’s take a look at the schedule of a professional athlete. Pro athletes spend an average time of 40 hours working out per-week for six days during the season. That’s a little under 7 hours a day, which is a huge amount of time dedicated to training.

Think about it, not only do a majority of NCAA athletes get cut from making a professional team, but a lot of them can’t see their future spending several hours a week for a sport. Many pro athletes go on strict diets depending on their sport and body. They need to get every bit of nutrition possible to be able to perform at their best.

Studies show that college athletes are more likely to become successful in life after college.

For example,  Michael Phelps’ diet consists of consuming 10,000 calories. That’s enough to feed five average men a day. Every diet looks different and it shows how dedicated these professional athletes are.

So, while few athletes go pro, the success rate of those that complete college and compete in athletics is higher. Therefore, it is assumed that the time spent playing sports is indeed worth it.