Skip to: Navigation | Content | Sidebar | Footer

When professional athletes go on strike, the rest of us who aren’t paid millions of dollars to stuff a ball through a hoop or hit a ball with a stick let out a giant collective groan. However, it tampers the disgust a bit to learn that a huge number of pro athletes go bankrupt within five years of retiring from their sport. Most of them simply never learned how to handle money and subsequently lived with their means in the rear-view mirror. As a way to invest in their futures, many pros and former players like these 10 athletes are seeking MBAs through George Washington University’s STAR (Special Talent, Access and Responsibility) Executive MBA program and others like it.

  1. Brendon Ayanbadejo

    As a key part of the Baltimore Ravens menacing backfield, in his ninth season Brendon Ayanbadejo had 31 tackles in 2011. He’s also made headlines recently for tackling the issue of same-sex marriage, writing op-eds voicing his support for it. Though his career is still going strong, Ayanbadejo has enrolled in the STAR program to add an MBA to his résumé, so that when he retires he will have a better chance of securing a job as an athletic director. No doubt he knows that at the ripe age of 35, his days playing a young man’s game like football are numbered.

  2. Michelle Lau

    We aren’t sure how poker qualifies as a sport, but it must be one because it’s always on ESPN2. But that’s not to say we wouldn’t rather watch Michelle Lau play it than Greg Raymer. The 41-year-old gambler from Hawaii is another STAR student who’s joined the exclusive class in search of her own master’s. Lau may be seeking another line of work, as her poker winnings to date are listed at only $11,158.

  3. Isaiah Stanback

    Stanback has not had an illustrious career in the National Football League. After being drafted in 2007 by the Cowboys, he was only active for two games in two seasons before being let go. He bounced around the league before landing with the Giants as a member of the practice squad in 2011, resulting in this picture. Five years ago he was a student at Washington, and now he’s back in the classroom at George Washington alongside other footballers. “I don’t love school, by nature,” he says. “I guess you could say a lot of athletes kind of do it because we have to.”

  4. Stephen Reed

    Reed broke barriers by becoming the first African-American golfer in the Big 12 while a student at Texas A&M. He went pro in 2005, traveling the world swinging irons but failing to secure a European or PGA Tour invitation thus far, coming close several times. He also speaks at public schools, telling kids about the importance of education. In February, 2012, Reed will be in D.C. continuing his own education at STAR. At A&M he had been a communications major; apparently this time around he’s getting a degree he’ll actually be able to use.

  5. Marques Colston

    Although some athletes are returning to school as a hedge against a career on the down slope, Marques Colston is after an MBA while at the top of his game. He’s a star wide-out for the Saints considered by some as one of the best Saints receivers of all time. He’ll take his seat at STAR this February to ensure his success post-NFL. “I want to be more involved in my community and impact it in a positive way,” he says. “GWSB’s commitment to society and customized education allows me to combine my personal interest in making a difference with a professional skill set to ensure my projects succeed.”

  6. Kevin Boothe

    Boothe was a member of the New York Giants during both their 2009 and 2012 Super Bowl victories, although his latest championship game appearance was nearly a disaster. Boothe has been in the pros since the mid-2000s, and teammates love his personality and ability to play anywhere he’s put. In 2012, Boothe will be adding to the degree in hotel administration he earned from Cornell by getting an MBA through STAR.

  7. Katura Horton-Perincheif

    Although half the class consists of football players, two former Olympians will also be earning their Master in Business Administration through STAR. Katura Horton-Perincheif represented Bermuda in the Summer Olympics in Athens in 2004 as the first female diver from the country. Since retiring from the sport she has been working as a project manager at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Australia. She said in a recent interview that public health is her passion and that she intends to use what she has learned and experienced to help others.

  8. Will Witherspoon

    The 2011 season was journeyman Will Witherspoon’s 10th season in the NFL with his fourth team. His career as a football player was no doubt much more lucrative than any he could have hoped to launch with his degree in landscape architecture. Signing up with the STAR program was just his latest step in preparing for the day he takes off the jersey for good. He already owns an organic farm that produces grass-fed beef, a couple doggy daycare centers, and a company that sells supplements. As Witherspoon sees it, “You have a short window in football, and then you’ve got to be ready for what’s next.”

  9. Rocky McIntosh

    Hopefully Rocky McIntosh won’t get any ideas about playing hooky from business school like what he tried to pull during a road trip with the Washington Redskins. McIntosh is a free agent this season and it doesn’t look like he’ll be returning to the team, but he doesn’t let the uncertainty stop him from mentoring needy kids in Virginia through the foundation he started. And this year McIntosh will be getting his own education from the business professors at George Washington University.

  10. Samari Rolle

    In 2010, Samari Rolle hung up his cleats after 11 years as a cornerback for the Titans and Ravens. He and his wife Danisha have enrolled in the STAR program to make them competitive in the arena of business. Rolle wants to become an NFL general manager and has a business idea for a better version of the blocking sled, a football training tool long-used by coaches. Danisha heads a publishing company and will use her MBA to improve the business.