Professional basketballer and captain of the Illawarra Hawks Oscar Forman graduated with a Bachelor of Business degree on 22 July.
Oscar has been working toward this moment for 13 years, and though the focus of his studies shifted (between marketing, commerce and public relations) at different times, his interest has always been in the business side of things.
“Through basketball I have good relationships with sponsors and I enjoy that side of the sport,” he said.
“I’ve learnt a lot during the past 15 years playing basketball; I feel there can be similar lessons drawn from what builds successful sport teams and successful businesses.”
Oscar acknowledged that playing full time and studying has meant taking the long road to graduation day: “My parents have flown over from Adelaide to attend my graduation ceremony, maybe just to make sure I’m telling the truth that I have finally graduated after 13 years,” he joked.
But dedication and a supportive environment have helped pave the way.
“I remember playing a game in Townsville one year and having to sit an exam with the team Physio acting as an examiner in the hotel room, which was luckily attached to the stadium. I sat the exam in my uniform and had just enough time to join the team for warmups afterwards.”
There were also times when study had to be put on hold entirely, including when Oscar relocated to join the New Zealand Breakers. Upon moving to Wollongong, however, Oscar was “lucky enough” to become involved with the Graduates of League and Athlete Education Foundation programs and get his studies back on track.
“Without the support of these programs I have no doubts that I wouldn’t be graduating,” he said.
“The guidance and help of people, especially Holly Scheeringa and Sam Jebiele, has been instrumental in helping me choose appropriate courses and streamline the process of obtaining valuable communication with the faculty.
“The assistance of personal tutors has been invaluable during times when I haven’t been able to attend lectures due to travel commitments or when my playing schedule has been incredibly busy and assignments are piling up.”
Though challenging, Oscar believes it is worthwhile for professional athletes to further their education.
“A number of Hawks players are at university, but I do think it is something that needs to be further promoted across all levels as it is very easy to get caught up in the playing lifestyle and not look ahead to after playing days.”
“The time that this degree has spanned should win some awards for staying power, but my parents kept me going by always reminding me that I need to have qualifications to help prepare for life after basketball.”