With US collegiate sport, student athletes can achieve their potential with world-class coaching and state-of-the-art facilities. They can also play at some of the best venues around – no less than eight of America’s top ten stadia are on college campuses.
There are huge audiences too, with many teams enjoying larger viewing figures and live attendances than their professional counterparts. The nationwide TV contract alone is worth $23 billion.
College is the main stepping stone to a pro career. Every competitor in the NBA, MLS, NFL, NHL and MLB has most likely been a college athlete. And if the University of Southern California's athletic department was a country, it would rank third in a league table of the world's nations with the most Olympic medals.
This is the most competitive sporting environment in the world for student athletes. But it also offers incredible rewards.