Athletes at the pro and college levels are realizing that they will never play the game they love again. This time of year it is football but it happens in every sport, around the globe: baseball, cricket, soccer, tennis, soccer, rugby and more. This is the point where all of these athletes, men and women, must defy the stats at the pro level of how long it takes to reach bankruptcy and at the collegiate level to validate the public service advertisements that deliver how many NCAA athletes go on to do great things after their playing days are over.
More than one pro athlete has told me that once they realized it was over, “I watched TV for six months.” Well, many of these men and women have earned the right (and have the wherewithal) to relax for a bit, but there is also a need to have a plan after that. Not scientific, but in no particular order big issues to contemplate or do include:
1) Reflecting on the positive. Very few have had the opportunity at the collegiate level and even fewer as pros. Savor.
2) If you don’t have a plan, begin to develop one. For example, in the NFL, if you did not attend any of the NFLPA or NFL Player Engagement post career opportunities look in to it now. Interested in broadcasting? Look into the Broadcast Boot Camp
3) For most pros, re-evaluate your budget. Absent special circumstances, your earning level has declined. Your cash flow and timing of receipt has changed. In the same vein, review the cast of professionals you have working for you, especially those that bill you regularly. Do you still need those services? Pros again, do reevaluate any legal structures you put in place while playing… from corporate entities to whatever estate planning you may have done, have your circumstances changed to the extent that those should be revised as well?
Many people have said a version of the following: Athletes die two deaths; the first is when they stop playing. I still remember the last play in my last college game decades ago. Nothing glamorous, but the final punctuation mark for the beginning of months realizing that never again would I be involved in that activity at that high of a level. So at the college or pro level, if it’s over, it is a big deal. Take a moment to reflect and to contemplate those next steps.