COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Department of Athletics has developed the NextGen Program, designed to prepare student-athletes for a career within intercollegiate athletics. The program is the latest within the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute, furthering its mission to provide leadership, character, and career development for all Ohio State student-athletes in order to best prepare them for life after graduation.
The NextGen program is a full-time, paid opportunity with benefits for graduating student-athletes. It is a structured, rotational development program, designed to provide experience and skill development necessary to position student-athletes to succeed in a career within intercollegiate athletics. Student-athletes will perform two six-month rotations, followed by one 12-month rotation across various units within the department of athletics.
“We are excited to launch the NextGen program through the Leadership Institute,” senior associate athletics director at Ohio State Carey Hoyt said. “This program will be the first of its kind created for student-athletes who want to work in college athletics. The program will expose graduates to the various units that make up the department of athletics. As positions open in the department, our NextGen Buckeyes will be uniquely positioned to transition into a permanent, full-time role at Ohio State. We are looking forward to providing these opportunities for our student-athletes and creating a pipeline of talented individuals who truly understand what it means to be a Buckeye.”
The first year will feature seven student-athletes across various sports. They include Kamryn Babb (football), Kathleen Jones (women’s tennis), Marcus Ernst (baseball), Elexis Edwards (women’s gymnastics), Brooke Shields (cheerleading), Ashley Turner (women’s lacrosse) and Lucia Marzal Martinez (women’s tennis).
“I chose the NextGen program because I felt like it would help me transition from being a student-athlete to the professional world,” Babb said. “I never really knew what I wanted to pursue after football and I’m still searching for the passions I want to pursue. I believe this program will give me, and the rest of my cohort, an opportunity to explore different jobs within the athletics department.”
“I want to thank Gene Smith for creating this opportunity because it’s a testimony to what it means to be a Buckeye,” Babb continued. “So many great people poured into me during my time as a student-athlete and now I get to give back to this great university in the same way through the NextGen Program. Getting an opportunity to grow off the field, right here in the athletics department, is what makes Ohio State a special place.”
The student-athletes will begin the program this summer within their chosen departments and will rotate to a different department after six months. In summer 2024, they will begin a final 12-month rotation in an area that best suits them and the department. For more on the NextGen program and the rest of the opportunities available to student-athletes, please visit the EDSLI website.