Home About News Speaking Programs Clients Photos Videos Contact


Student Athlete Transition
Life Skills Circle
Campus Climate Assessment


Student Athlete Transition Program (SATP)


Each year thousands of high school student-athletes make the transition to higher education. For most, their high school experience will have prepared them well for college academic work and the rigors of major college athletics.  However, there is very little to help prepare them for the complex social environment and unique demands placed on student-athletes at the Bowl Championship Division level.
The NFL and NBA each employ transition programs, recognizing the unique and challenging lifestyles of professional athletes.  Such programs were put in place to not only support the transitioning athlete but, to mitigate the risk to investment for the owners and overall league stability.  With increased media scrutiny and resource investment, similar dynamics face transitioning high school student athletes and the institutions they attend.  Moreover, the transition from high school to college athletics poses greater challenges and risks than standard college orientation programs typically address.
The Student-Athlete Transition Program (SATP) was created by Don McPherson based on his philosophy that, ‘Just as we prepare to make good decisions in the classroom and on the field, so too must we prepare to make good decisions socially and in our personal lives.  Prevention is preparation to make the right decisions.’

What is SATP

SATP is a comprehensive educational training program designed to help high school student athletes make a successful and positive transition to the academic, athletic and social demands of higher education.  Through a series of innovative workshops student-athletes will gain the skills necessary to navigate the myriad social and personal adjustments.  Issues include but not limited to:

  • Social Networking Sites (My Space, Face Book, etc.)

  • Academic Performance/Urgency

  • Dealing with Media

  • Alcohol and other Drugs

  • Sexual/Dating Violence

  • “From Recruit to Student-Athlete”


For student-athletes who compete at the highest level, their daily lives are about performance.  In the classroom and on the field, they are challenged in many ways from the moment they enroll.  Similarly, they experience challenges with social and personal adjustments.  Orientation programs designed for the general student population address many broad issues; however for student athletes the risks are more acute and urgent.  Additionally, orientation programs often tell students where to turn for help once a problem arises.  Student-athletes don’t have that same luxury.  Minor infractions and indiscretions by student-athletes can potentially become high profile incidents garnering media attention and public admonishment.  Such incidents impact the reputation of an institution and athletic program and, the personal lives of students.  Furthermore, general orientation programs have trended towards multiple day events and extend into early summer prior to enrollment.  The understanding is, the better acclimated students are, they better retention and performance will be. SATP was created to meet the more intense demands on Bowl Championship Division student athletes.

Benefit to Student Athlete

Student-athletes will have the benefit to consider complex social issues and decisions without the pressure of two-a-day practices, competition or academic stress.  The purpose of the program is non-punitive and it’s not a “scared straight” approach.  The program will be interactive, honest and comprehensive.

Benefit to Institution

Athletics: Coaches are typically not hired based on their understanding of social issues that impact the lives of students however they are often judged and impacted by the personal decisions made by their student-athletes.  SATP provides coaches with tools to reinforce the program while focusing on coaching and not discipline issues.

Academic Institution: Recruitment and retention, fundraising and capitol campaigns benefit greatly from positive, high profile athletic departments.  Conversely, scandals and inappropriate behavior by student-athletes can hurt the image and viability of an institution.  Furthermore, liability and risk exposure become increasingly more troublesome in an environment of media and internet scrutiny, especially as it pertains to (high profile) student-athlete behavior. SATP will address the most current, difficult and sensitive issues facing administrators in higher education and athletics.  The added benefit of SATP is they are addressed in comprehensive manner, before students are enrolled.


© 2012 Don Mcpherson Enterprises LLC.