Tag Archives: sport

Hallam Win Varsity 2011

Sheffield Hallam retained the Varsity trophy for the fourth year running following a 1 point victory over Sheffield University.

The event, that runs over 8 days, came down to the final day. With Hallam clinching the title with 31 points to Sheffield University’s 30. Continue reading

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Sport Stars With Degrees

Will carling


Craig Breslow – A baseball pitcher from Oakland who has a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale.

Will Carling – Retired professional rugby player with 72 caps for England and a degree in Psychology from    Durham.

Jonathan Edwards – World record setting triple jumper who has a degree in physics from Durham.

Jessica Ennis – Current World and European heptathlon champion and Psychology degree from the University of Sheffield.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB for the Buffalo Bills with a degree in economics from Harvard.

Chris Hoy – Olympic Gold medallist Cyclist and has a degree in applied sport science St Andrews

Ben Kay – Won the Rugby World cup winner with England and has a degree in Sports science from Loughborough.

Brian McClair – Retired Manchester United and Wales star with a maths degree from Glasgow.

Shaquille O’Neil – Basketball player for Boston Celtic’s with a BA degree in General Studies.


Jamie Roberts – Professional rugby for Wales and the Cardiff Blues, and is currently studying medicine at Cardiff University

Andrew Strauss- England’s cricket test captain who gained an economics’ degree from Durham.

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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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Winter Varsity Kicks Off

Winter Varsity 2011 kicks off tomorrow with the much anticipated ice hockey match.

The match sees players from the Sheffield Bears split in two and face off against each other in order to gain bragging rights for their university.

Any friendships or loyalties are left behind as players from Hallam and Uni compete against each other for this annual event.

Chris Bryniarski, Sheffield Hallam, believes it’s one of the most fearsome games in the hugely successful club’s season.

“The varsity match is renowned for grudges. I think in all the teams ice hockey is the biggest event. The players like to push and shove each other a lot more in the games.”

Last year the event drew a crowd of over 4,000 and this year they are expecting even more fans to descend upon the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield.


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Why Not University Sport?

Sport seems to have forgotten who the most important people in the game are.

No it is not the multi-billionaire owners, the managers, the greedy agents or even the players themselves. It is infact the fans. without them there would be no clubs, no wages and no big money transfers or scandals. Yet increased wages and transfers for players has lead to a sharp increase in prices for fans and resulted many of them turning away from the clubs they run.

This is not just true of football. Rugby Union is also seeing a large decrease in attendances, with the Aviva Premiership attracting 12% less fans this season than it was by Christmas last year.

So if the clubs are going to price their fans out of their stadiums then where should they turn to find their weekly fix of passion and adrenaline?

Why not University sport? After all it works in America. The NCAA college level football league attracts average attendance’s of over 45,000 and brought in more than 37 million fans in 2008.

If we attracted even a hundredth of these numbers to a university game I can ensure that these players would not sell out for a higher pay cheque. They would simply enjoy the pleasure of finally getting to showcase their skills to a larger audience than the usual one passer by and his dog.

And why not attend. Some of these players have just as much talent as many high level players. And the passion and rivalries are just as intense – if you don’t believe it go down to watch your local varsity match -. Its also free, surely if it is the sport that you are really interested in then this has to be the best possible invitation  to attend.

In fact many players from these games end up playing at the highest level anyway and you’d have to remortage your house just to watch them play.

So why is no one turning up?

I can’t understand how a sport mad student is more than happy to travel down to Bournemouth to watch Sheffield Wednesday but thinks the 10 minute trip to the university playing fields is too difficult.

Understandably there are clashes with seminars and lectures, and the sport is incredibly under advertised but if you can make the effort to turn up I can guarantee you that you will witness some thrilling sport. And the players will actually appreciate you turning up.

Colan Leung the sports Officer from Sheffield Hallam University believes the public and the students should get behind their local university.

“University has just as big rivalries and players as professional sport. At Hallam we have dozens of players who represent National sides playing week in week out in front of no one. The public are welcome to come down and get involved. we’d love their support.”


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