Thursday, February 04, 2010

Sports scholarships and other false promises

Outstanding article in Sunday's Houston Chronicle on the false promise of college scholarships. The Chronicle's Jenny Dial does two interesting things.

First, she computes the percentage of high school athletes who are playing in college AND receiving money. She reports that in men's and women's basketball, men's and women's track and field, men's golf and men's soccer, it's less than one percent.

Second, she speaks with parents in the Houston area about what they spend on their kids' sports educations.

She writes: "A survey of several parents of boys and girls golfers in the area shows that on average, they spent nearly $11,000 a year on the sport. Basketball parents spent an average of $4,900 over six years, and parents of junior and senior soccer boys and girls spent an average of $8,000 for two years."

There's nothing wrong with that, unless parents are counting on a scholarship to balance the ledgers. Many aren't. Some are.

This is from Until It Hurts. I was spoke with UConn men's soccer coach Ray Reid:

"UConn has room to add only six to seven high school players each recruiting cycle, some years just four or five. Reid’s sense is that teenagers often have an easier time accepting the bad news than their moms and dads, for whom a child’s sports career has involved long years of driving carpool, pacing sidelines and writing checks. They’ve done their part. In so many words, they’re taking the position that it’s time to collect on the investment.

"Reid bristles as he recalls many conversations with parents that have followed this tortured path. It goes this way, he says. “Coach Reid, we invested a lot of money in my son’s career - $30,000 in ten years. We’d like a soccer scholarship to get some of it back.

“It angers me. I’m appalled by the attitude. My reaction is: “That’s interesting. Your son is a mutual fund!”


Kirk Mango said...

Great article Mark. As I have said many times, when sports participation becomes all about the extrinsic rewards (fame, fortune, scholarship, wild lifestyles, winning at any cost, etc.) than negative issues are commonly the result. Just ask Tiger Woods, Mark McGuire, Jose Conseco, Danny Almonte, Bill Belichick, Marion Jones, Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick, Michael Phelps, Floyd Landis, Tim Montgomery, etc. etc.

Kirk Mango

Anonymous said...


A great article, somewhere along the way it seems parents of athletes have lost their values and identity.

Have you been to an 8th grade basketball game lately? It's amazing the negative comments coming from the stands, it seems to really make the child uncomfortable. Kirk spoke about extrinsic rewards, when did we lose the intrinsic impact of playing athletics?

I was fortunate enough to receive a college scholarship, and I was around many who didn't but I think its important to embrace the journey of playing a sport rather than "what's in it for me" mentality because at the end of the day you can still utilize what you learned in sports into your daily life.

Its about the journey and the experience, yelling at the JR High Ref isn't worth it..sports needs to be positive again!


Innovative Athletes