The Truth About Sports Scholarships

  1. #1
    by theguru is offline Administrator
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    Below is a link to an op-ed piece that we hope you will consider publishing. The article is authored by Bob Gardner, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Julian Tackett, Commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.

    It addresses a common misunderstanding that potentially affects dozens, if not hundreds, of families in your community.

    As outlined in the article, parents are spending thousands of dollars a year for their children to play club sports. Club fees, equipment purchases, summer camps, private coaching and the cost of travel to out-of-state tournaments has turned youth sports into a $15 billion-per-year industry. For many families, this investment is based on the false hope that their children will eventually be awarded a sports scholarship.

    The facts, however, suggest otherwise. Only 1 child in 54 actually gets a sports scholarship and very few of those cover the full cost of tuition, let alone room and board. An overwhelming majority of teenagers would be better served by playing high school sports and learning the life lessons they teach. It’s interesting to note that nearly four times more money is awarded every year for academic achievement than for sports scholarships.

    Please take a moment to review the op-ed submission and feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

    3/29/18 – The Truth About Sports Scholarships | Kentucky High School Athletic Association

    Bob Gardner, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Julian Tackett, Commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.

    Unfortunately today many parents are trying to live out a dream through their sons and daughters – the dream of landing a college athletic scholarship by specializing in a sport year-round. Equally unfortunately, most of these dreams are never realized.

    The odds of a sports scholarship paying for even a portion of a student’s college education are minuscule.

    The College Board, a not-for-profit organization comprised of 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions, reports that a moderate cost for college students who attend a public university in their state of residence is $25,290 per year. The annual cost at a private college averages around $50,900.

    Meanwhile, the most recent data from the NCAA reveals that the average Division I athletic scholarship is worth only $10,400. More significantly, the same study shows that fewer than two percent of all high school athletes (1 in 54) ever wear the uniform of an NCAA Division I school.

    Even if the dream is realized, parents likely will spend more money for club sports than they ever regain through college athletic scholarships. Thanks to the costs of club fees, equipment, summer camps, playing in out-of-state tournaments and private coaching, youth sport has become a $15 billion-per-year industry.

    Put in real terms, many families sacrifice far too much for what is commonly called the “cocktail party scholarship.” That is the years of work and sacrifice for the student to be rewarded with a $1,000 scholarship to a $15,000 school. In the end, the only benefit is being able to stand at the next cocktail party and say “my child got a scholarship.”

    There is an option, and it’s a financially viable one: Encourage your sons and daughters to play sports at their high school.

    In education-based high school sports, student-athletes are taught, as the term implies, that grades come first. The real-life lessons that students experientially learn offer insights into leadership, overcoming adversity and mutual respect that cannot be learned anywhere else. Unlike most club sports, coaches in an education-based school setting are held accountable by the guiding principles and goals of the administrators in their school district. And the cost of participating in high school sports is minimal in most cases, especially when compared to travel organizations.

    While there is a belief that the only way to get noticed by college coaches is to play on non-school travel teams year-round, many Division I football and basketball coaches recently have stated that they are committed to recruiting students who have played multiple sports within the high school setting.

    In addition, by focusing on academics while playing sports within the school setting, students can earn scholarships for academics and other talents—skill sets oftentimes nurtured while participating in high school activities. These scholarships are more accessible and worth more money than athletic scholarships. While $3 billion per year is available for athletic scholarships, more than $11 billion is awarded for academic scholarships and other financial assistance.

    Without a doubt, your sons and daughters will have more fun, make more friends and be better prepared for life beyond sport by participating in multiple sports and activities offered by the high school in your community.

  2. #2
    Mustang's Avatar
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    Agree wholeheartedly!

    Very, very few full rides. Many, many "package" scholarships - Academic, athletic, hardship.

    Sometimes paying the room and board negates the benefits of an out-of-town small school scholly. As shown, Club Sports, personal trainers, placement services are all big bucks industries, with the profit being racked up by the providers.

    Regardless of who you are and where you play, IF you are good enough, the colleges will find you . There are a few exceptions - Women's athletics and minor sports who do not have recruiting budgets, and must rely on these "scouting services". In a school with a Title IX imbalance, it is sometimes easier for a female with marginal skills to receive a Division I track scholarship than a bona fide male. Being the son/daughter of a single parent is also an advantage.

    It's a numbers game, and colleges and universities must balance their equity reports.

  3. #3
    Bengal Maniac's Avatar
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    I have said it on here many many times. You are more than likely wasting your time (and lots of it) and money (and lots of it) on hoping or trying to get a sport schools. Get your ACT to a 28 and keep your GPA above 3.0 and the opportunities to many universities and colleges are plentiful.

    I made some regretful decisions in my lifetime, but I did not fall into this trap (team or individual sport clubs or whatever) and could have with two of my kids because they were very good athletes (but not great). I simply looked at the money involved and realistic chances and stressed academics. One got a full academic ride and the other 75 % ride. Now my other two, I just hoped they'd do something. Fortunately, they matured late (very late) and are doing great now. Not much scholly $$ for those two. But $$ well spent to send them to college because they are self sustaining now. At the time I wasn't so sure and thought they might be on the family payroll for life.

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    A lot of folks just can't see the forest for the trees.

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    I agree with the sentiment of the article, but in one capacity it is a smidge misleading. There are 6 sports in Division 1 that are either "full ride" or "no ride", no partials. Those six are: Men's Football and Basketball, and Women's Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, and Gymnastics.

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    Blessed to have a child get a full ride in D2 basketball. Roughly $40 grand a year. Never expected it or thought it would ever happen. We never had a master plan to try to make it hapen. He turned down offers to play on elite teams in the summer and elected to play with his friends instead. Part of the reason for the scholarship (and I have said this comment before) was due to good grades in High school. It was always our main focus. This school was able to combine academic qualifications wth the 10 split scholarships they have. He will graduate in 4 years and just yesterday announced he made the all conference academic honor roll again. The experience of the team and the ability to go to a school that would have never been on his radar was fantastic. He fully understands how rare the opportunity was and made the most of it.

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    Good article and won't dispute much but I do know 2 things. 1) Everyone's story or path to success athletically will be different as there in no "one" playbook for recruiting and playing sports at the college level and 2) If you do not have the grades and qualifying test scores within your HS education journey the chance of success will be certainly limited if not diminished altogether. I know this from going through the recruiting process 4 times with my own kids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sixer View Post
    Good article and won't dispute much but I do know 2 things. 1) Everyone's story or path to success athletically will be different as there in no "one" playbook for recruiting and playing sports at the college level and 2) If you do not have the grades and qualifying test scores within your HS education journey the chance of success will be certainly limited if not diminished altogether. I know this from going through the recruiting process 4 times with my own kids.
    To echo Sixer's point #2, grades and test scores really matter young prospects. I'm on my second athlete and we are sitting in a much better position this time around because of his academic performance. Our first was lucky enough to eek by to be eligible at a lower level. Lot's of scouts ask for academic reports before game film from coaches. D1 coaches walked after viewing our first's transcripts. Work hard on and off the field. Student / athlete with the emphasis on student first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fear the Nation View Post
    To echo Sixer's point #2, grades and test scores really matter young prospects. I'm on my second athlete and we are sitting in a much better position this time around because of his academic performance. Our first was lucky enough to eek by to be eligible at a lower level. Lot's of scouts ask for academic reports before game film from coaches. D1 coaches walked after viewing our first's transcripts. Work hard on and off the field. Student / athlete with the emphasis on student first.
    Exactly. No grades, the opportunities for aid, slim and none. Trying my best to emphasize this to my second. My first lost out on a lot because of "less than perfect" grades. Been a roller coaster and the ride isn't half over.

  10. #10
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    We had a player Two years ago at Ryle that the big schools didn't want to spend an athletic scholarship on because he didn't fit all the measurables even though the kid could flat out play. He was able to work hard in the classroom and earn an academic full ride. Because of that he was able to walk on the the University of Louisville as a PWO. He might not have had the opportunity to if he didn't work as hard in the classroom as on the field. He put himself in a position academically to succeed athletically. Good grades open doors.

  11. #11
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    I completely agree that the grades MUST be the priority, even to the point that I would encourage a student to quit a sport if they are doing poorly in classes DUE to not enough time to complete the work. (Note that I said that that they should quit if having time to complete assignments and prepare for tests is preventing them from getting the high marks.) Academic scholarships are a sure thing.

    On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with investing in the club sports year round, if you can afford it and if it is what your child wants to do---even if your child is not going to pursue the sport in college. Being part of a very good team and playing at a high level, travelling around to tournaments, training and playing with other club athletes who are as driven as you are is a once in a lifetime experience in and of itself. No shame in enjoying the ride. It's making memories and doing something that you will never be able to do again in your life.
    Last edited by hoops5; Mar 30, 18 at 07:49 PM.

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    Too bad more parents don't look at it that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoops5 View Post
    I completely agree that the grades MUST be the priority, even to the point that I would encourage a student to quit a sport if they are doing poorly in classes DUE to not enough time to complete the work. (Note that I said that that they should quit if having time to complete assignments and prepare for tests is preventing them from getting the high marks.) Academic scholarships are a sure thing.

    On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with investing in the club sports year round, if you can afford it and if it is what your child wants to do---even if your child is not going to pursue the sport in college. Being part of a very good team and playing at a high level, travelling around to tournaments, training and playing with other club athletes who are as driven as you are is a once in a lifetime experience in and of itself. No shame in enjoying the ride. It's making memories and doing something that you will never be able to do again in your life.
    I completely agree. Yes, they can be expensive. But not all programs are bad, and as long as parents and players understand the realities, there’s a bunch to be learned in these leagues, even if it doesn’t produce a scholarship. The artist cle, while raising some valid points, paints all of these programs as being a waste of time. That’s simply not true.

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    While I agree with most of the article, when people talk about athletic scholarships they always refer to d1 schools. Very few athletes will see ncaa D1 . But there a way more scholarships available at other levels, including d2 and NAIA D1 and D2 schools that will still get you a good education and a degree along with playing competitive sports. Also agree with hoops5, nothing wrong with playing the sport your child loves year round. We as parents and our son as a kid got to experience things, meet people, and make freinds that we would have not had the chance if we didn't play AAU ball. Did it get him a D1 NCAA scholarship? No . It did get him a partial scholarship to one of the top NAIA bball programs in the country. And the coach there and the other schools we talked to looked more at his performance at AAU than his high school games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjs4470 View Post
    I completely agree. Yes, they can be expensive. But not all programs are bad, and as long as parents and players understand the realities, there’s a bunch to be learned in these leagues, even if it doesn’t produce a scholarship. The artist cle, while raising some valid points, paints all of these programs as being a waste of time. That’s simply not true.
    Completely agree. They are not all a waste of time. Kids can get so much out of playing 7on7 travel. It doesn't have to be about scholarships or "getting noticed". Every 7on7 coach I have come in contact with stressed grades first and foremost. The kids get to play with other talented kids who love the game. There are bonds and friendships made that will last. They get to travel to tournaments and play against some of the best in the country. The overall speed and athleticism is better than what they will see on a Friday night. They can learn a lot and get better playing against these teams and athletes. They see players they have met at camps and have fun competing with them. It can also give them confidence competing with top level competition and show them what they may need to work on. The experience was well worth it. Just go into it knowing what you are signing up for and why.

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