NFL Wide Receiver Andrew Hawkins was inspirational to watch during his time in the NFL, but now the former receiver has found a new way to inspire. Over the weekend, he graduated from Columbia University and received his master’s, and he did it with a 4.0 GPA.
The receiver earned his master’s degree from Columbia in sports management and has not announced what his next move after football will be. But he has his eyes set on going from running on the field to running the business behind the scenes.
Hawkins played for the Cleveland Browns from 2014 through 2016, appearing in 39 games, receiving 1,424 yards. Prior to that, he spent three years with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hawkins began working on his master’s degree in spring of 2015, between seasons with the Browns. The team released him this past February. But that didn’t stop his drive.
This spring, Hawkins spent every Monday flying from Los Angeles to New York, where he’d gather material for a week’s worth of classes before catching a plane back to Los Angeles that night, according to New York Daily News.
In off-seasons before that, he made the same trip starting from Tampa, Fla. That’s right — Hawkins was traveling from Florida to New York and back again once per week for school and actually decided to make his trip longer by moving out to Los Angeles. The move was made partially so that Hawkins, 31, could intern with Maverick Carter, LeBron James’ business partner.
All of the hours spent on airplanes and studying for 12 classes paid off Monday, when Hawkins walked at Columbia’s graduation. He made sure to make a statement.
Atop his graduation cap, Hawkins put, “Just as smart as I am quick. Shuttle: 4.0, GPA: 4.0.”
He even posted his grades on Instagram too!
He’s said he has prospects and will meet with two teams, which he declined to identify, in the next two weeks.
Hawkins’ family traveled with him to New York for his graduation on the Upper West Side. Asked if his wife Markisha, thought back in 2015 his plan to fly to and from New York in a single day was hair-brained, Hawkins laughed.
“She didn’t because we’ve been together 10 years,” Hawkins said. “She’s witnessed me do even crazier things. She’s a veteran now.”
An MS in Sport Management takes a multidisciplinary approach, teaching you to examine the sports industry from a variety of particular operational and business perspectives. Core courses usually cover some of the same key foundational knowledge in finance, marketing, management, and legal concepts as an MBA. However, instead of being general, a master’s degree in sport management examines these topics through the lens of a sports administrator or executive.
An MS in Sport Management can also cover behavioral topics that impact athletics, including sociology and human performance.
Hawkins never shied away from standing up for what he believed in. During the season, he wore a shirt that said “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” in 2015, following the killing of 12-year-old Rice by Cleveland police, and Crawford, a 22-year-old also killed by Ohio police while holding a toy BB gun.
Now, with six years in the NFL behind him and armed with a graduate degree, Hawkins is ready for whatever is next. Though, he admitted, as a man with varying interests, he might not be done with school just yet.
“I’m extremely happy. I’m glad,” Hawkins told the NY Daily News. “This probably won’t be my last degree.”