Professional football player finds far-fetched passion for education

Ray Shipman transitions his ChampionShips to succeed off the field

Ashley Montgomery | 3/20/2014, 9 a.m.
When it comes to the classroom, the football field or a basketball court, Ray Shipman goes for the gold. Excelling ...
Former NFL player Ray Shipman speaks to children. Ray Shipman

That is exactly what he is teaching his young ChampionShips now.

“If it doesn’t work out on the field or court, you will always have your education — something that no one can take from you.” Shipman said. “Football and basketball isn’t the only way out.”

Strive for success

Richard Lapchick, director of TIDES says that, “It must be emphasized that African-American and white football players graduate at a higher rate than their male non-athletic peers in the student body.”

According to the NCAA Education and Research Data, “the graduation rate for African-American male students as a whole is only 45 percent, in comparison to the 67 percent graduation rate for white male students.”

In 2009, Shipman was named the SEC Scholar Athlete of The Year, an award only received by one player in UF history prior to Shipman.

ChampionShips is a non-profit organization that is funded by donations from family, friends and corporate sponsors.

“I want to start receiving more grants and acquiring more sponsors so that I can provide more services,” Shipman said.

Shipman thanks his parents, Ray, Sr. and Rosalind Shipman and his friend Shirelle Wright for helping him run his organization.

“When it comes to a lot of my business, Shirelle has helped me out a lot,” Shipman said.

Shipman and Wright both attended UCF together. Wright earned her MBA from UCF.

After two seasons with the Knights, Shipman was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Shipman spent the entire preseason with the Saints before being waived after a hamstring injury. Shipman didn’t let that stop him — he received a contract from the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Today Shipman is training everyday for his upcoming season in the CFL, which he has high hopes it will lead him to his future in the NFL.