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Campus News : March 2012
The old adage goes that footballers are known more for their brawn than brains This year however, 170 NRL and under 20s are attending university, proving th can achieve success on both the academic and sporting fields thanks to an innovative new program piloted at UOW in collaboration with the St George-Illawarra Dragons and the National Rugby League. Known as The Athlete Education Foundation, the initiative allows athletes to manage their sporting and study commitments by participating in a more flexible, tailor-made university timetable and receiving tutoring from high-achieving students. With 20 players enrolled, UOW has the highest number of NRL footballers involved in higher education. Program director and Foundation co-founder Dr Sam Jebeile from the Faculty of Commerce said at the initiative's launch that the Foundation's ultimate goal was to have every NRL player involved in university graduate from their course or attain some form of tertiary qualification. "Many of the players achieve impressive academic results. They definitely are the sort of men who belong at university," he said. "However, football commitments and training can sometimes make it very difficult to balance study and sport. This program was designed to tackle some of these issues and we will be working on improving it even further as time goes by." Dragons forward and Foundation co-founder Ben Creagh said the players were eager to demonstrate their commitment to university study and looked forward to the chance to 'pick the brains' of their tutors. "There's a reason they are high achieving students so we hope we can learn some positive habits em. Maybe they n learn a thing ootball along the way, he said. Commerce (Finance and International Business) student Gareth Vella said he was pleased to be a Foundation tutor and was excited to see the results of his efforts through the players' academic grades. "Football requires a great deal of time management skills and commitment to training ... study is very similar. Results come from dedication," he said. Former Dragons captain and university graduate Mark Coyne was a guest at the launch and commended the players on their endeavours to complete their education. Coyne, who holds a Bachelor of Business degree, said he played for the Dragons in an era when footballers had to supplement their football earnings with other jobs. "I used to train in the morning, commute to work in Sydney and come back to Wollongong to train again. I was living away from my family for the first time and found it really hard to balance it all on top of doing household chores and preparing my own meals," he said. "I had a 12 year career with the Dragons, which was amazing, but when it was over I then had to go out into the workforce and get a full-time job." He said he was glad he had attained a degree, enabling him to achieve his career goals at the conclusion of his time with the Dragons. "Doing well in your football is important, but so is getting an education so you can continue to achieve after your sporting career," he said. UOW External Relations Director Canio Fierravanti said the University was thrilled to work with the St George-Illawarra Dragons and the NRL and to have the highest number of players enrolled of any institution. "The University would eventually like to see all Dragons players doubling as UOW students. We are very excited to embark on this journey into education with the Dragons and the NRL," he said. UOW has had a partnership with the Dragons since 2009, involving a range of activities including providing pre-season training facilities at the University's sports fields, gymnasium and pool, as well as on-the-job training and research for UOW health sciences and marketing and communications students. JB Above: Dr Sam Jebeile from UOW's Faculty of Commerce talks to St George-Illawarra Dragons rugby league stars Ben Creagh (centre) and Dan Hunt about the Athlete Education Foundation. Left: Dragons players and Physical Education students Dan Hunt and Jack DeBelin meet their tutors Kelly Fraser (left) and Holly Gibson (right). CONNECT: UOW is produced by the Media Unit. Editorial Nick Hartgerink Bernie Goldie Melissa Coade Jenna Bradwell Layout Artist Paul Martens Photographers Sean Maguire Mark Newsham Telephone +61 2 4221 5942 Facsimile +61 2 4221 3128 Email email@example.com Web media.uow.edu.au Address University of Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia CRICOS Provider No: 001202E ISSN 0312-2018 DRAGONS FIRED UP FOR STUDY SUCCESS 12 CONNECT :UOW MARCH 2012 CONNECT: UOWD ns. This year, players hey from the might even or two about fo way"he said
CONNECT:UOW July 2012