The end of an athlete's playing days is inevitable, but for former MLB outfielder Kenny Lofton, retirement from baseball was just the beginning of his success as owner of a film production company.
Lofton earned a degree in studio production at the University of Arizona while playing minor league baseball for the Houston Astros. He credits his post-MLB success, as owner of FilmPool, Inc., to that education.
"And now I have an opportunity after I'm done playing baseball to basically understand that my college degree lead me to where I am today, right now," Lofton said.
Lofton, who went to Arizona on a basketball scholarship, was Steve Kerr's backup at point guard on the 1988 team that reached the Final Four. He joined the baseball team as a junior, and he stays connected to the college game, including an appearance in Omaha for the College World Series through the Capital One Cup.
"You're not always going to be the top athlete, you're not going to be the top guy that goes to the next level,” Lofton said. “So if you’re not going to that level, at least you have the opportunity to play the sport you love, go to school, and then get an education and try to be that whatever you want to be.”
Lofton is an advisor to the Capital One Cup, which awards $400,000 in athletic scholarships to the winning men and women's athletic programs.
Points are based on men and women’s programs’ top ten finishes in NCAA championships during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Capital One awards the programs with the most points at the end of the spring athletics season with the Capital One Cup trophy and $200,000 each in athletic scholarships.
"I'm just here to let people understand how it works and I can put my spin on it,” Lofton said of his role with the Capital One Cup. “I played college sports and understanding so is another reason why I know it’s important for me, because I grew up needing help with funds."
The College World Series title is worth 60 points and could decide the 2013-14 winning men's program. In last year’s competition UCLA won the College World Series, which boosted the Bruins to first in the Capital One Cup standings.
If No. 1 seeded Virginia wins the 2014 NCAA baseball title, it would edge Notre Dame 101-98.5 for the 2013-14 Capital One Cup.
The Capital One Cup uses athletic success to encourage student-athletes to reap the educational benefits of their respective schools. But Lofton stresses that education is up to the individual not just the institution.
“The athlete has to want to go out there and go to school,” Lofton said. "It’s up to the individual as well, so you can’t just put it on the school. You have to put it on each individual going to school and going to classes."