In recent years the number of professional and semi-professional athletes has grown significantly. Many of these athletes reach the end of their professional sports careers to find themselves without the necessary academic or other vocational qualifications to gain employment in other sectors. The aim of the study is to explore how the different EU Member States deal with this growing problem. It examines the following questions: provisions for the support of young athletes; quotas for the admission of athletes to universities; flexibility within the university system (i.e. regarding lecture timetables, assignement deadlines, exam schedules etc.); grants for retired professionals to study at universities; general support for athletes who wish to combine professional sports careers with study; long-term career prospects in both the public and private sector; special pension schemes for athletes.