There are seven graduate students playing on Wayne State’s football team this season — the highest in program history.
These Warriors hit the field on game day and tackle heavy course loads in their respective master’s programs.
“Having the option to continue as you’re still playing doesn’t clamp your education,” said Wide receiver and graduate student Corey Ester. “It gives (me) the opportunity to do something (I) love to do, which is play football.”
Three of the seven student-athletes are studying sports administration and four are pursuing a master’s degree in business.
Ali Scheib is an MBA student on the team who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Michigan State University. Scheib played forward on MSU’s soccer team from 2013 to 2016.
After graduating, he took a gap year to prepare for being a student at the Mike Ilitch School of Business and for being a kicker on WSU’s football team.
Scheib said joining the football team was an easy transition.
“(The team) was welcoming from day one,” Scheib said. “They’re all ambitious to succeed in not only football but also in their academics.”
Shane Hynes is also a kicker on the team and is pursuing a master’s degree in sports administration. Hynes said he learned to improve his grades and perform well on the field during his undergraduate years.
“Coming out of high school, I wasn’t really a good student. I graduated with about a 2.6 GPA,” Hynes said. “Without football, I probably wouldn’t be finishing college, even my undergrad. It would have been a struggle to keep going.”
Fullback Randy Garvin was named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll five times as an undergraduate student, which he said helped him as he began taking master’s classes.
“I was fortunate enough to get a Graduate Teaching Assistant spot with the kinesiology department and was fortunate enough to have them pay for my master’s degree,” Garvin said.
When away from the field and their studies, some of the players spend time together. Garvin and other players like to take part in goose and duck hunting, he said.
“Outside of football we have a lot in common and we’ll always check in,” Garvin said.
Hynes said it is important for students to have a long-term academic plan in order to achieve success.
“My advice would be that you have to find what you want to do. By doing that, you’re going to do better in school,” Hynes said. “Once you start to learn something that you’re interested in, everything becomes pretty simple.”
Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics.