The transition from college into the pros is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and the outcome of athletes who succeed in their sport or those who choose a different route vary greatly. Of course the goal is to become a successful professional athlete in their chosen field, although a great deal often don't know how to manage their money, or others fall victim to unfortunate contract situations and end of choosing a different route.
For a player to become a professional athlete after college is against all odds, so that in itself is a major accomplishment. Only 1.2% of college basketball players have that opportunity, and there are 17,500 players. Only 1% of college soccer players have that opportunity out of 22,573. The rewarding part is becoming a professional, although the end result is not guaranteed.
The transition may be rough for a number of reasons, but all of these reasons have a solution. Players cannot adapt to the level of physicality at the professional level which may slow down their career until they adapt. Even some of the best players that will be playing in the NCAA Tournament 2013 will have to catch up on the physical level once they enter the pros.
Another perspective that affects the transition is if the player can manage this sudden increase in income. Will they know how to handle the job behind the professional title? At the professional level there is a business behind the game so professionals play for more than themselves.
According to Sports Illustrated, 60% to 80% of professional athletes go broke within five years of leaving their sport. This further proves the poor money management theory, although with the right mindset plays can be rather profitable if they have wise spending habits.
A number of players go back to school after they have become pro, and these players may not see a future in the sport or that getting the degree will act as a safety net in case the professional career doesn't last. About 10% of the athletes in the NBA are going back to school to get the diplomas they didn't earn as student.