I, myself, have dated athletes and non-athletes in my dating life. I'm now engaged to a former wide receiver of a D1 football team. This does not categorize me or anyone as a cleat chaser and there are also some really good guys in the world who aren't athletes, but they didn't present themselves to me when I was single.
There are also some really crappy people who are athletes. This isn't limited to just college athletes, I'm talking people who love playing sports, just joining rec. teams for fun, pick-up games, and truly enjoy the competition.
Everyone has their own opinion/experience and none of them are wrong. This is based on my personal experiences.
They work on teams with common goals. In a relationship, there needs to be two people working together. Putting in effort and being on the same page. On a team, everyone is in communicating, figuring out plays, and what to next
They are competitive and will always challenge you to be your best. In sports, you are always competing. Always wanting to better themselves. They will push you to be the best you can be. Think of all the things you can do being your best self.
They are passionate people. The pour their whole heart into something they love. Best relationship ever, that probably why I'm marrying him, too!
On top of all that, it's always fun to go support your partner and cheer them on. Even in simple pick-up games. Also, it's awesome to see that special someone in the stands cheering for you!