Athletics News

Three GW Student-Athletes Attend NCAA Career in Sports Forum

June 7, 2017

A trio of George Washington student-athletes had the privilege of attending the three-day Career in Sports Forum at the NCAA National Office last weekend in Indianapolis.

Cross country/track's Miranda DiBiasio, along with volleyball's Aaliya Davidson and women's water polo's Allyson Bakos, were three of more than 240 student-athletes from around the nation to attend the forum. A total of seven student-athletes from the Atlantic 10 participated.

The forum is held annually to educate student-athletes on potential careers in collegiate athletics.

Davidson, DiBiasio and Bakos each took the time to recount their trip for

Davidson: For three days we shook hands and met with people who share many of the same values, motivations, and goals. One of the biggest takeaways is that the path to your career may be long with many stops along the way. One speaker, Oliver Luck, the executive vice president of regulatory affairs within the NCAA national office, said that he liked to switch careers every 5-6 years! His philosophy was that whatever you wanted to accomplish could be done within 5-6 years within a particular job. Something else that particularly grabbed my attention was that we are currently being groomed and educated to work in fields and jobs that have not even been created or thought of yet. For instance, coding was not a field of study 20 years ago. Oliver Luck said that we need to teach students how to learn or adapt to new careers or even create them.

Even further Jay Jones, associate director for division III, informed us that if we are in this business for the money we will be surprised by how little we make compared to how involved and how hard the task are we will be taking on. Jay Jones says that we should "work in athletics because you're passionate and you love it."

We also constantly heard a lot about building our brand and leaving a legacy long after we are gone. Meeting and connecting with a small pool of chosen student athletes, experienced panelist, and inspiring professionals in the sports world was energizing. I would recommend anyone passionate or interested in a career in sports to check out the CSF to meet and connect with successful professionals in the field (amateur, collegiate, and professional) to hear about their path and get some useful advice.

DiBiasio: This past weekend I was afforded the opportunity to attend the Career in Sports Forum at the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis, Indiana. The forum brought together 240 student-athletes from each division, and from across the nation to learn more about different professions within college athletics.

Along with being student-athletes, we all share the desire to work within the sport world in some respect. During the four-day forum, we heard from numerous speakers from different areas of college athletics: administrators, athletic directors, academic advisors, life skills coordinators, coaches and sport psychologists to name a few.

Each day was packed with events for the student-athletes to take part in. The first day included two influential presentations. One from Oliver Luck, former NFL player and current Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs at the NCAA National Office, and another from Becky Hall, Director of Athletics at Oglethorpe University.

The group took part in two panel discussions, one given by interns and graduate assistants within the field and another from administrators from each division. These panel sessions gave students a great opportunity to learn about internships and graduate assistant positions within athletics as well as learn more about what differentiates Divisions I, II, and III. I found this panel particularly helpful because I have considered looking into GA positions to assistant coach cross country while pursuing a master's degree in the future.

We then took part in breakout sessions, where we were divided into smaller groups to learn about the national office and conference offices. During these breakout sessions I learned a lot about positions within athletics that I had never considered before. To complete the first full day, a networking dinner was organized as an opportunity for students to connect one-on-one with professionals in different areas of athletics.

The second full day was used primarily to assess student-athlete's results on the DiSC personality assessment. Before attending the conference, we were asked to complete the assessment so we could discuss our results. This was my first time taking the DiSC assessment and I was shocked by how incredibly accurate the results were! We walked through how to interpret our results and how we can use our results to better understand ourselves, and how to communicate with our teammates, peers, and coworkers who have different personality traits. Doing this assessment and analyzing our results was one of the highlights of the forum. I learned a lot about myself and how I can best interact with those around me as well as how I can use this information to be a positively influential leader.

As well as assessing DiSC results we joined as a group to hear Maya Ozery, Director of Student-Athlete Leadership and Development at The University of Richmond, speak about emotional intelligence and Marlon Dechausay, Associate Director of Athletics for Academic Services at The University of Illinois, speak to us about personal and professional branding. Marlon spoke about how important it is for student-athletes to maintain a clean profile on all social media outlets. I found this incredibly important for all student-athletes to hear, as most use social media and may not realize that what they post can impact their professional development.

To close out the forum we heard from keynote speaker Jason Burton, Head Coach of Women's Basketball at Texas A&M University-Commerce. He helped us explore our "Why" for pursuing careers in sports. He opened up to us about his "Why" and left us with the message of how important it is to understand our true reasoning for selecting this profession. He urged us to make sure that we are doing it for the right reasons. He left us with a strong statement that I loved: "You cannot grow in your comfort zone." He encouraged each of us to chase our dreams, find our passions, and branch out of our comfort zone. I connected with this a lot because getting out of my own comfort zone is a challenge that I have been dedicated to working on since beginning my college career.

Overall I had a great time at the Career in Sports Forum. I learned so much more about what kind of job opportunities there are within college athletics, as well as how to get into the industry. I had the opportunity to listen to many influential speakers with incredible backgrounds and lessons to share. All of those who participated in the forum spoke with incredible passion for what they do, serving the student-athletes. This forum left me more excited to begin my journey pursuing a career within college athletics!

Bakos: Having the opportunity to participate in this conference truly solidified my passion to start my career in the sports industry. We heard from a diverse range of speakers who were equal parts inspirational as they were knowledgeable.

I had the chance to explore different sectors I'm interested in within the sports industry such as marketing, philanthropy, and coaching. Aside from learning tips and tricks for career advice and networking, it was affirming to hear a unanimous value for character traits such as integrity, grit, and teamwork throughout all the speakers and athletes.

The conference facilitated such a positive and collaborative environment for participants and over the course of four days I can wholeheartedly say I made lasting connections with newfound friends and mentors who share my passion. I will be pursuing my Masters in Sport Management at University of San Francisco this fall and I think this was a great start to building my foundation to learn more about the business.