Drew Jackson Attends NCAA Career in Sports Forum

    USC junior Drew Jackson at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

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    June 9, 2015

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    LOS ANGELES - USC women's lacrosse junior midfielder Drew Jackson (Tyrone, Ga./Woodward Academy) was invited among a group of more than 200 current student-athletes and NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipients to attend the NCAA's Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis last weekend (June 4-7). Jackson was one of just six attendees invited from the Pac-12, all of whom have expressed an interest in working within sports. It is the sixth year that the NCAA has sponsored the event, which is hosted at its headquarters in Indiana.

    "I enjoyed meeting other student-athletes from athletic programs across the nation, and hearing about their career goals," said Jackson. "Some inspired me and helped shape my own plans. The networking experience was invaluable. The opportunity to meet athletic directors and other representatives from collegiate athletic departments, having an open dialogue with NCAA president Mark Emmert, and the chance to speak with staff from professional teams was an incredible experience. I think the forum would benefit many student-athletes who aspire to a career in athletics."

    From the Pac-12, Jackson was joined by Elizabeth Pepper (Arizona, swimming); Katie Gruys (Oregon, basketball); Felicia Odle (Oregon, track and field); Laurel Weaver (UCLA, sand volleyball); and Katrina Tarrant (Washington State, rowing).

    "Events like these are great ways to explore your career interest as a student-athlete," said Jackson. "I would encourage others to cast a wide net and to start their searches, and to begin networking. It's important to reach out to people in fields that interest you, but to never limit yourself to just a single option. A student-athlete's athletic department can also be extremely helpful as a place to start. It's how I learned about and was able to attend this forum."

    Participants who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in sports, and who were viewed as leaders on their campus, were invited to apply to attend the forum after a nomination by athletics administrators at their respective schools. Many current and past attendees are members of their Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the student-athlete voice within the NCAA governance structure.

    "Supporting NCAA student-athlete leaders with their education is a key goal for the Association," said Dr. Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of education and community engagement and chief inclusion officer. "Our Career in Sports Forum puts student-athletes and postgraduate scholarship recipients in a non-traditional academic setting where they can learn directly from successful leaders, which can have a positive impact on their future after graduation."

    One of more than 20 annual programs and resources organized and directed by the NCAA leadership development department, the Career in Sports Forum provides college athletes with a broader scope of the career tracks available within the sports business, with the primary focus on college athletics. The forum provides student-athletes interactive experiences with successful individuals in the sports business and a peek into their day-to-day duties and responsibilities.

    Forum attendees will hear from keynote speakers and panelists, highlighted by NCAA president Mark Emmert, Great Lakes Valley Conference commissioner Jim Naumovich, and Ole Miss Director of Athletics Ross Bjork. The participants also learn best practices for gaining employment and gathering a better understanding of what future expectations will be once they get a job in sports.

    In a historic season for the program, third-year head coach Lindsey Munday was named the MPSF Coach of the Year and put seven players on the MPSF All-Conference team including MPSF Player of the Year and IWLCA Third-Team All-American Michaela Michael. Munday led the team to its most wins in a season (14), its most conference victories (8), a program-best second-place finish in the MPSF, the team's first appearance in the MPSF tournament final, and an unprecedented selection to the NCAA tournament field. There, the Trojans earned a first-round win over James Madison before falling to third-seeded Duke in the round of 16. USC received its first votes in the IWLCA Coaches Poll this season, and completed the year with a 14-6 overall record (8-1 in the MPSF).

    For more information on the USC women's lacrosse team, please visit USCTrojans.com. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCTrojansLax.