6 good reasons to play a college sport, even if you didn’t get a scholarshipPosted: January 8, 2013
Despite the obvious superior gene pool, oodles of natural talent, years of travel teams, weeks of camps, hours and hours of private instruction and a tremendous cash outlay, your kid didn’t get the athletic scholarship you were dreaming of. Well, don’t feel bad. Only about 2 percent of high school athletes actually get an athletic scholarship, and most of them only get a partial scholarship. It doesn’t mean the end of the road for your athlete. Even if there’s not a scholarship involved, there are still plenty of reasons to participate in college athletics.
1. Academic advising
Instead of waiting in line with thousands of other students to see an adviser, most schools have an academic adviser dedicated to sports. And they don’t want to jeopardize the program by having academically ineligible players, so they make sure the student athlete has all the required classes. Plus, at some schools, student athletes get to register early, before open registration, and can get overrides for full classes to accommodate their sports schedule. This is the best part, in my opinion.
2. Attendance, study tables and academic eligibility
You can’t force them to study, but you can force them to go to class and to study sessions, and monitor their grades if you are the coach of a college team. Does this mean every coach in every program does it? Heck no. There are plenty of schools that violate the academic integrity rules, with alleged academic fraud at the University of North Carolina being the most current example. To be fair, not all cheating is done by athletes, and there are plenty of clean sports programs. But it will help relieve your worried parent mind to know that someone is actually keeping an eye on them.
I’m pretty sure we will never have to buy an athletic workout shirt again. In college, uniforms and equipment are mostly provided (excluding tattoos). Sure, you’ll have to pay for some things, but the amount coming out of my pocket for my son to play baseball has never been lower. Except for that tuition thing.
Just like in high school, college athletes have workouts to attend, off season and in season, and practices and team commitments. There’s nothing better to discourage a college kid from a late night drinking spree than knowing a 6 AM conditioning session is facing them the very next morning.
5. Connections and hiring potential
It’s not just making friends, but making connections that pay off long after you graduate. It’s another type of fraternity or sorority relationship that can help you get an “in” for a job, or impress an alumni that’s hiring. Plus it looks good on a resume, speaks to good time management skills and commitment and discipline, and all that other stuff employers says they like.
6. All that other fun sports stuff
Belonging to a group, instant friends, hanging with your bros (or girls), laughing, enjoying yourself and being active–all the same things that are good for younger athletes are good for college age athletes. Plus it helps kids make some responsibility transitions, get more experience dealing with adults (without mom and dad managing the exchange) and fights homesickness.
There is a nationwide trend of colleges, especially Division III liberal arts schools, adding sports and activities to attract students. Especially the sports that Division I schools are cutting, like wrestling and women’s hockey. It has rejuvenated many small schools and given lots of kids, whose parents can afford the tuition, a place to play.
No scholarship? Don’t despair! If you can scrape up the money for a college education, there’s a good chance that your athlete can still participate. And who knows? After a season or two of impressing a coach, it might pay off with a scholarship, but it most certainly will pay off in other ways.