The Scholarship Myth

The start of a new school year brings with it the promise of great things to come. Successful seasons, great contests, favorable results, memorable moments, the lessons learned in the athletic arena and dreams. These dreams of success often lead to the possibilities of obtaining an athletic scholarship to continue one's athletic career at the intercollegiate level.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), 7.5 million high school students participate in interscholastic athletics throughout the country in our high schools on an annual basis. For these 7.5 million participants nationally, there are approximately 400,000 roster spots available in intercollegiate athletics at all levels on an annual basis. Just doing quick math, that's only 5.3 % of all students who participate in high school athletics will make a roster spot on an intercollegiate athletic team.

Now to make this discussion a little more realistic, colleges do not have all roster spots open in a single year. So, let's be very generous saying there are 30% of the total roster spots available the next year. 30% of 400,000 roster spots equal 120,000 positions available annually. This means a more realistic number for a high school athlete to make a college team is more like 1.6 percent of all of those participants. That’s just making the team, not having a stipend to play.

Many athletes chase this elusive college athletic scholarship. The stark reality is with more than 14.7 million students attending public high schools and another 5 million attending private schools, we believe more students receive academic scholarships, grant and aids, or financial assistance based upon their academic achievement in high school than the student athletes that are fortunate enough to get some assistance to play a sport in college. Taking the same 5.3% and applying it to academic scholarships, of these 19.7 million high school students, it results in 1,044,100 students receiving academic financial assistance. Whoa!

Here’s our suggestion. Hit the books. Take your education seriously. Participate in numerous extra-curricular activities and be a leader in your school. From athletics to academics; to dance; to theatre; to band; to clubs; to student council; to class governance; get involved! Experience as  many opportunities as possible to work with your brother and sister classmates.

To steal a line from our military; Be The Best You Can Be! Become a well-rounded person and one in which colleges, trade schools and the work force will want you to be a part of their team to assist in giving them an educated, talented, diverse, well-rounded population.

It does not matter who you are; Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter. There always comes a day when they take your ball away. When it happens, you must have a solid, educational foundation to make personal and professional decisions to provide for yourself and your family. Become a productive member of society. A solid citizen. We all benefit from that.

As Mick Jagger has sung many times;

You can't always get what you want,
You can't always get what you want,
You can't always get what you want,
But if you try sometime, you just might find;
You get what you need.