AU a perfect fit for professional athletes
Playing any sport at a high level requires dedication and commitment to putting in long hours both on and off the field—and that doesn’t always leave much time to pursue an education.
Thanks to the flexibility Athabasca University (AU) offers, high-level athletes all across the country are able to maintain their demanding training and game schedules while also working toward a university degree.
“It’s a challenge to balance both school and football for sure, but I’ve been doing it for a number of years now,” said Ty Cranston, a defensive back with the Montreal Allouettes in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
He’s no stranger to the balancing act of playing high-level sports while also being a full-time student. He completed an honours degree in English literature at the University of Ottawa while playing football for the Gee-Gees.
“You have to balance the school load, the practice, the film, and all the workouts you have,” he said. “And when you get to pro, football becomes your livelihood, it becomes your profession. It becomes a continuing balancing act of how you can take football and school and put them together.”
After university Cranston was drafted into the CFL, but he never lost sight of the importance of education. He said this focus on education is especially important for Canadian football players—unlike their counterparts in the NFL, CFL players typically don’t earn enough in their football career to retire on.
“There has to be something after football for us,” he said. “Learning skills throughout university and then being able to compound those with classes you take after football, or other education you have throughout your life, will really benefit you as you move on past football, whatever that may be.”
To supplement his English degree, he’s working on business-related courses at AU with an eye to what comes next for him when the time comes to transition out of football—something he wouldn’t be able to do if he was limited by the schedules and in-person requirements at a traditional university.
“They understand the complications that come with playing pro football, and what happens with life after football,” Cranston said. “They’re really supportive in terms of getting out there and helping us prepare for life.”
Learn more about what AU’s flexible and open format means for learners with a busy schedule, find a course or program that’s right for you on our website, and get started on your educational journey today!
“There has to be something after football for us. Learning skills throughout university and then being able to compound those with classes you take after football, or other education you have throughout your life, will really benefit you as you move on past football, whatever that may be.”– Ty Cranston