The Australian School of Business has proved to be a popular choice for Sydney Swans players with four players in this weekend’s grand final all choosing to study for their undergraduate degrees at UNSW.

Swans player, Nick Smith is studying for a Bachelor of Economics, while Ted Richards has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce.

Ted Richards 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.”

While Ted Richards says combining a degree while playing for the Swans was tough, being part of the UNSW Elite Athletes Support Program enabled him to successfully integrate academic life with his rigorous training schedule. The program provides enrolment flexibility, cross-institutional study options and leave of absence for travel commitments for eligible current students

“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,” he says.

Daniel Hannebery (Bachelor of Economics) and Josh Kennedy (Bachelor of Commerce) have also studied at the Australian School of Business and were all looking for strong academic qualifications to provide them with career opportunities following their football careers.

Prof Wai Fong Chua, Pro-Vice Chancellor Students thanked Australian School of Business staff for supporting the Swans players in their studies, assisting them to commence and continue their degrees, whilst also pursuing their football careers.  She said that “all of the players were members of the Elite Athlete Support Program too which allowed them flexible study options.”

Neil Morris, Vice-President for University Services, which includes UNSW Sports and Recreation, also wished the players luck at the weekend, ‘We are delighted with the relationship that we have built up with the Sydney Swans and other professional sports teams to make UNSW a destination of choice for their athletes. We are keen to ensure that skills on the pitch are supported by options within the university that enable athletes to perform to the best of their ability when studying or playing.’