From the perspective of a subject matter expert, I give you some tough love:
1. VERY FEW OF YOU WILL GO PRO
It may be disappointing to hear, but knowing this reality means you can be better prepared for the future. 43% percent of young black athletes believe that they will play professional sports, but after years of data collection, we know that is not what is happening. At the end of 2008, 400,000 students were recorded to participate in athletics, but only one of every 25 of those students went on to contend jobwise. Subject to the size of your team size that means one (or none) of your athletes will essentially earn a salary from sports upon commencement. What does this mean: Don’t forget to take care of grades and plan for a career after college!
2. FULL RIDE ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS AREN’T ACTUALLY THAT GREAT
Only 4 sports offer full rides to the small group of athletes who will actually receive scholarships: football, men and women's basketball, and women's volleyball. To put this in perspective, approximately 250,000 high school seniors play basketball every year, but only about 12,000 of those same seniors will receive a scholarship to play at the university level. No, that does not mean you won’t be able to get ANY scholarship, it just means an athletic scholarship is not high on the list of possibilities. But let’s say you actually are one of the chosen few, then there’s a good chance your scholarship won’t cover the full cost of your tuition, with the average athletic scholarship coming out to about a little over $10,000. Outside of football and men’s basketball, the common package is little over $8,000. What does this mean: Student athletes should strive for ALL types of scholarships and financial assistance, NOT just athletic ones.
3. A LOT OF BASEBALL PLAYERS GO PRO!
So far my news for you hasn’t been the best, but there are some hopeful statistics if you’re into baseball. The figures show more collegiate baseball players will go pro than any of their athletic counterparts. The NCAA figures reports that about 10.5% of baseball players will go from college to pro, followed by 4.1% for ice hockey players, and 2% for football players and women’s basketball at 1%. What does this mean: If you want to encourage your student athlete to play a sport, make sure it’s one that they are actually passionate about! The numbers do not lie, competition is rough, but as long as you love the game, the effort put forth will all be worth it!
4. STRONGLY CONSIDER DIVISION III
Although Division III schools are not allowed to grant athletic scholarships, US News & World Report reveals some of the best scholarships for athletes come from these universities. Division III schools are characteristically smaller private colleges and frequently give awards for student achievements. What does this mean: These merit grants can cut tuition by more than half the cost. Enough Said.
5. COLLEGES CAN BE LOOKING AT YOUR ATHLETE AS EARLY AS 7TH GRADE
As extreme as it may sound college coaches have access to building files on players as early as the second year of middle school and can often end by the end of the 9th grade. At that early stage, of course parents should be managing the opening interactions, but ultimately, students will need to take ownership in the recruiting process. What does this mean: Athletes should take control of their athletic career by their junior year, avoiding conflicts between coaches and parents, but parents protect your students. There is life beyond the game!