AFL player Ted Richards is set to graduate with a
Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales, after studying while also playing for the Sydney Swans.
Ted Richards, aged 28, has played for the Sydney Swans since 2005, as a defender.
At the same time he has spent five years studying at the Australian School of Business and says he has enjoyed all his subjects within his degree program, particularly economics, marketing and management. "It was great," he says. "I feel I really achieved a great deal and developed as a person. I enjoyed the whole degree as it got me thinking about things outside of the football world. In particular with the management courses I was able to draw on experiences in football with issues such as teamwork and change management that are relevant in both areas."
However Ted Richards says combining a degree while playing for the Swans was tough. "Time management was important, especially around assessment periods. I had to train with the Swans, and prepare for each game, while at the same time work hard to make sure I wasn’t neglecting my studies. I’ve really learnt to balance my time."
Despite puncturing a lung and fracturing several ribs in a game against Carlton in 2009, he has continued to study, and says that his coursework was a healthy distraction at the time. "When I was injured out of the game, studying kept me focused. With extra free time I was able to spend more hours studying and avoid getting too down about not playing."
This Thursday he will be conferred with a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of New South Wales, and will receive his testamur (degree certificate).
He is not the only AFL player at the campus; other Sydney Swans players are also flocking to the Australian School of Business. Four other players from the Sydney AFL team have chosen to complete their undergraduate degrees at the School. Swans players, Nick Smith (Bachelor of Economics), Daniel Hannebery (Bachelor of Economics), Josh Kennedy (Bachelor of Commerce) and Dylan McNeil (Bachelor of Commerce) are all looking for strong academic qualifications to provide them with opportunities following their football careers.
The University of New South Wales is a member of the Elite Athlete Friendly University Network (EAFU) and has an Elite Athlete and Performers Program in place that offers flexible study options to support student athletes like Ted Richards allowing them to combine both their sporting and academic pursuits.
UNSW Athlete Development Co-ordinator, Helen Bryson, has thanked the Australian School of Business academic staff for supporting Ted Richards and the other Swans players in their studies, allowing them to continue their degrees, whilst also pursuing their football careers.