Don't Put All Your Eggs into the Football Basket


Last week we outlined four possible scenarios regarding the potential recruiting track of every high school junior who wants to play college football. This week we are going to take a hard look at one specific scenario—the one that doesn’t include playing college football.
            Our assumption here is that every player who desires to play college football wants to attend college anyway and that his parents support those desires. The most important thing that a family can do is to initially take football out of the equation and approach the college application process like every other family who has a junior student thinking about attending college. Every parent should support a child’s desire to attend college, because ultimately that child needs to “get off the family payroll” and a college education can be a big step in that direction.
            While high school athletes generally feel they are “bullet proof”, in that they never will get hurt, never get sick, never not make their grades, or never not get recruited, they do have to face that reality.
            So here is your plan:
  1. Every family should sit down together this spring for a “family chat”. At that time the student should articulate to his family his top 3-4 choices for a college if he couldn’t play football after high school.
  2. The adult members of the family must then research the student’s admissibility to the colleges of his choice. Does his GPA, Test Scores, and/or Class Rank make him academically admissible to any or all of those schools? Parents can find out all of their son’s grades by consulting with his counselor at the high school. Parents can research academic standards of colleges by going on the internet.
  3. Once the above numbers are obtained, if the student is admissible, then the family must decide if that option is “affordable”. If not, then you must begin researching sources of financial aid. Don’t count on an athletic scholarship in this exercise.
  4. If the student’s academic credentials are not good enough for admission to the college of his choice, then he has two options. He can either improve his credentials, but raising his high school grades or retaking the ACT/SAT test or he needs to cross that school off his list and check out some others.
  5. The research needs to be completed by the end of the school year, so that time is allotted over the summer to go and actually visit those schools. Make appointments with admissions people to get a tour of the campus and talk to officials. (It also doesn’t hurt to make an appointment with the football staff when you go, since playing football is your goal anyway)
  6. By the start of the fall, (Labor Day or the start of school) a family should be making application to at least one school, one that you have already done the research to know that your son will be admitted.
Doing all this ensures you will have a “back-up plan” in case your football
scholarship dreams fail to work out the way you want them. Assuming you will be recruited and delaying this research process becomes dangerous because if you delay it until after the recruiting process plays out, you may be “too late” to apply at your favorite school, because of admission deadlines.
“Take Care of Your Own Business” first, then let the recruiting process become a bonus to your college plans.