06 Apr Athletics to Academics: Finding the Balance
The following is a guest blog written by Al Musante, Co-Founder of Get Athletic Scholarships. He can be reached through his website at www.getathleticscholarships.com
For many student athletes, the drive to find your spot playing your sport in college whether at a DI, DII or DIII school, sometimes overshadows considerations about the academic program that may be available at a particular college. And, we know that you are probably saying to yourself, if I get offered a scholarship, partial or full, I am taking it because I want to play my sport.
We caution student athletes to research and document the academic quality of the school as much as the strength of the athletic program. Why? Because a lot can happen to a college athlete and the scholarship they have received. It is important for the prospective college athlete to understand that as soon as you become part of that rarified athletic group of college athletes, your coach begins recruiting right over you, looking for the next set of athletes to round out his athletic program. And, this happens continuously. Also, players do get injured and sometimes, so seriously, that they cannot return to the sport. What then? Or if an injury sets back a player for the rest of the season, that athlete may find on returning for the next season they have less play time.
Ask the coach how many players graduate in four years.
What is the average GPA and how many scholar athletes are on the team?
Does the college/university have a Masters program and is there a chance you could play a fifth year depending upon when you came to this particular school or if red-shirting is involved?
Does the school provide academic advisors to counsel you on setting up your academic coursework, providing help with communicating with professors, and help with adjusting your class schedule/work submission in order to meet your requirements for athletics?
Are there tutors available or study table requirements?
What are the colleges majors and minors in how many academic fields and are any of these of interest to you? In what fields does the school excel?
Is there a postgraduate program available?
And the big question: if you had injuries and could not play your sport, would you stay at this school?
Remember, this is the 4/40 plan: Playing your sport in college gives you a path to obtaining a college education and degree preparing you for your lifes work. Most athletes do not go on to play in the pros. The academic half of this equation is as important if not more so than the athletics. Balance!