Above photo: Adam Hill
After opportunities to play their sport professionally, former University of South Carolina student-athletes are coming back to school to graduate through the Athletics Department’s Degree Completion Program.
“Getting that degree means a little more than just saying you went to school there,” said former pitcher Tyler Webb (2010-2013) who was taken in the tenth round of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Yankees and spent ten years in professional baseball, including five years at the MLB level. He’s now working towards a degree in retail management. “It’s important to finish what you’ve started.”
“It’s just amazing and it speaks to what a great place South Carolina is,” said Adam Hill (2016-2018), a former pitcher who was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the New York Mets and is now a volunteer assistant at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., as part of an internship through South Carolina while he finishes his degree in sport and entertainment management “Even after you’re done playing there, they still look after you and want to take care of you. I’ve always been a die-hard Gamecock fan. My dream was always to play there, so to finally get a degree is just awesome. It was important for me to come back and finish. I love South Carolina, and I always wanted to be a graduate.”
The Carolina Degree Completion Program, which is part of the Gamecock Student-Athlete Promise, is for student-athletes who left the university in good academic standing to pursue a professional career or did not complete their degree due to personal circumstances. The program allows them to apply to be readmitted to come back to campus and finish their degree while eligible to receive funding for room, board, books, and tuition. They also have access to all of the resources offered to current student-athletes, such as tutors, laptops, and use of the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center. Some may not need all of the assistance as it’s not uncommon to have a return to school written into professional contracts. Either way, it’s a great opportunity.
“I think it’s important because I’m retired and out of sports now, and when athletes leave their sport, they’re ready to join the real world and they’re in a little bit of a vulnerable position,” said Tyler Johnson, who is getting his degree in public health in December. “This degree program gives…