College sports have become a billion-dollar industry and more high school hopefuls have their sights set on the collegiate and pro careers than ever before. But as kids strive to excel towards making a college team they are often misinformed about what to expect about achieving their goals and what is expected of them as they make the transition from high school to college. Unfortunately, a majority of students will encounter plenty of hyperbole and bad information as they navigate their way towards an athletic career and there are plenty of myths out there that need to be debunked.
In order for high school seniors, and their parents, to properly prepare to play college sports, it’s important they proceed knowing the facts. For instance, don’t expect to register for USC Online and play for the Trojans. Some of these may come as cold, hard truths that might not have been evident up until now. But the better informed you are about reality, the more likely you are to truly succeed instead of being poised to fail from the start due to faulty advice.
1. There’s No Such Thing as a “Full-Ride” Four Year Scholarship
If a college coach offers you such a thing, they’re not giving you the full truth and it can put a student-athlete at a disadvantage. Scholarships are awarded on a yearly basis and the coach has full discretion over whether or not a scholarship continues from year to year. The coach may be telling you that he would be willing to approve all four years and that may be what he or she means by saying full ride, but if you get injured or don’t produce at the levels you’re expected, you can be sure that scholarship will be rescinded. Another myth here: many scholarships don’t cover the full year of tuition either.
2. Your High School Coach Will Get You Recruited
No one is going to get you on that college team but you and your athletic ability. Your high school coach can play a part in getting you in front of the right people and help develop your skills every season but don’t expect him or her to get you into that college program you want so badly. Only you can get you there.
3. Good Athletes Don’t Need Good Grades
This is probably the biggest myth about college sports there is right now. Despite what you may hear in the media, student-athletes need to maintain good grades in order to make the team and even play. It’s true that schools are going to actively pursue the best of the best, but grades play a bigger part in their decision to find the cream of the crop that you may think. Colleges put as much emphasis on the “student” part as they do the “athlete” part of the term student-athlete.
4. Division II and III schools are not as Good as Division I
Division, I colleges are more attractive to student-athletes because they get more television coverage and send more athletes to the pros. That is a big myth, as there are plenty of star athletes in every major sports league who hail from Division II and Division III schools and go on to have big careers. So while you may have your heart set on playing Division I, don’t rule out schools like Amherst College who have strong Division III programs.