As college student-athletes are allowed to profit off their collegiate athletic careers, the schools that support them are increasingly looking for ways to help them better manage their money.
Oklahoma State University is hoping a new financial literacy program will help its student-athletes navigate the new college athletes environment.
"Never before have student-athletes had such earning potential and earning power at the collegiate level," Jawauna Harding, OSU's associate athletic director for student-athlete leadership and development, told the school's website. "We felt that it was our responsibility to educate our student-athletes on the basics of finances – understanding budgeting, understanding what to do with your money and just establishing good financial habits.
"This is way for OSU Athletics to help educate our student-athletes to have better financial success while they're in college and after."
OSU mandates that in order for a scholarship athlete to receive Star Fund payments, they must attend a financial literacy seminar or complete an online program.
OSU Athletics has partnered with Simmons Bank, a big supporter of the school, to help with financial education.
Numerous Simmons Bank employees are part of the seminars, which cover a variety of topics, among them:
- Avoiding bad debt
- The importance of a good credit score
- Saving and investing
- Fraud and identity theft
"We thought it would be a great partnership because of the proximity for our student-athletes," Harding said. "(Simmons Bank) enthusiastically partnered with us. Everyone from their president to the local banker is here educating our student-athletes and making sure they're provided expert opinions on a broad range of subject matter.
Harding said the effects of the program are already measurable. Student-athletes take pre- and post-assessments to understand their financial confidence and following the seminars, they have seen that confidence grow.
"They better understand what goes into finances and the whole spectrum of being an adult and what they need to and should be doing in order to have financial success in the long run," Harding said.