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University or Education? England rugby star James Gaskell – ‘Why I Quit University’

Mohammad Amir’s 5 year ban from competitive cricket at the age of just eighteen has forced him to look back on his decision to dismiss his education and chase the cricketing dream.

He has now admitted that dropping out of school was a mistake. Leaving him contemplating what to do with his life.

While Amir is having to face this reality at a young age many ‘sports stars’ face this exact same dilemma when their playing days are over.

This decision to give up on learning is not uncommon in professional sport and in the modern era with it’s mental, physical and emotional demands it may not even be possible to play at the highest level and continue with higher education.

James Gaskell

James Gaskell, 21, of Sale Sharks and England risked everything by giving up his education and dropping out of university to concentrate on sport. He believes that you only have one chance and when it comes around you have to grab it with both hands.

James Gaskell on why he stayed dropped out of university,

“It’s [playing for Sale] a once in a life time opportunity. If I’d taken three or four years to go to university then there’s a chance I could of missed out on a contract at the end of it. I wasn’t guaranteed one. I had to really take the opportunity that was put in front of me.”

Even at the top level it used to be the case that all players had second jobs. But with the money involved in today’s market most players are either ill advised or believe that after they finish playing they will have enough money to live a life of luxury. Although not everyone makes the grade and injuries are always possible. Leaving hundred’s of athletes out of a contract, with no club and no education.

Chris Bryniarski

Chris Bryniarski, 22, of Coventry Blaze, Great Britain and Sheffield Hallam believes that getting an education is more important than succeeding in the sporting arena.

Chris Bryniarski on why he stayed in education.

“I would go with university. I’d go with university purely because it [playing] doesn’t last. Anything could happen in ice hockey. If you have a degree then you can get a better job. Over here in the UK professional ice hockey doesn’t pay that well and lots of players have second jobs.”

Bryniarski is happy to admit that if he hadn’t come to Sheffield Hallam then he probably would have dropped out to concentrate solely on ice hockey.

“The university is really good for me, they give me a lot of time for Ice Hockey. Thats one of the reasons why I cam to Sheffield Hallam.”

Sheffield Hallam University is one of the universities’ at the forefront of encouraging these young players to attend university and is dedicated to giving these individual’s a chance to complete a degree. Sport’s Officer Colan Leung gave me this statement regarding their Talented Athlete Scholarships:

“The High Performance Hallam programme aims to attract talented student athletes to study at Sheffield Hallam University and offer support to balance their university life and achieve their sporting potential.

“The High Performance Hallam programme is available to athletes who are currently competing at the top level within their sport and are either full-time or part-time students at Sheffield Hallam University.”

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