What would you do if your teen turned down a sports scholarship? Last week, it was national signing day, a day of great pride for many high school athletes when they officially accept sports scholarships from colleges. Over the last 5 years of working with upper middle class families, I have spoken with some bewildered parents of high school junior and senior athletes whose teen with lots of athletic potential has made the decision not to play sports in college at the varsity level. I know the conversation firsthand, since my son made the decision not to pursue playing in college during his junior year of high school. Why? The following are major reasons:
Lack of Passion for the Sport
For various reasons, they just don’t have a desire to play the sport in college even though many continue to have successful high school careers. Some students will experience burnout from having played the sport nonstop since 6th grade. Some will become disillusioned with the politics involved in the game such as disputes over playing time or coaching staff changes. Still, others may have been plagued by injuries. These issues only intensify at the collegiate level.
Time Commitment in College
Playing sports at the varsity level requires a big time commitment. A NCAA survey showed that athletes spent 39 hours a week on academics and 33 hours a week on sports. Playing sports takes sacrifice. Many students are unable to work, even at critical summer internships, because of the time commitment. Some students even change their college major because they are unable to be successful at demanding majors like engineering or pre-medicine.
Athletic Scholarships Don’t Cover Everything
First of all, according to the NCAA only 2% of high school athletes will be offered an athletic scholarship. This includes “full-ride” and partial scholarships. Furthermore, there are always personal expenses that even “full-ride” scholarships do not cover.
Only time will tell if your son or daughter will have the opportunity and desire to be a student athlete in college. Being a student athlete in college can be a very rewarding once in a lifetime experience. However for high school athletes, the main focus needs to be on the academics. Many student athletes have options taken away due to not being academically prepared. Sports can teach students many life lessons, but families need to be realistic and make informed decisions.
Miriam Phillips-Gill is the founder of Pathways 4 Teens. Pathways 4 Teens helps teens define success through teen leadership and parent engagement. Contact Miriam at [email protected] or 602-999-3892. Visit https://pathways4teens.com to register for an event! Also follow us on facebook and twitter for more great information!