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Scholar Season

Athletes spend time and money attempting to earn college scholarships. But is the effort worth it?

Soccer+captain+Chrissy+Keller+in+a+game+against+J.P+Taravella+High.+Photo+by+Fox+Mar
Soccer captain Chrissy Keller in a game against J.P Taravella High. Photo by Fox Mar

Soccer captain Chrissy Keller in a game against J.P Taravella High. Photo by Fox Mar

Soccer captain Chrissy Keller in a game against J.P Taravella High. Photo by Fox Mar

Nabiha Azaz, Sports Editor

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The athletic scholarship is the pinnacle of an athlete’s high school sporting career. In many occasions, it has acted as a godsend for athletes who do not have the funds or GPA to get into a reputable university.

However, getting a scholarship from a university for athletics is a rarity. According to FinAid.org, only one to two percent of students who are currently studying for a bachelor’s degree earned some type of financial aid for athletic purposes. Athletic scholarships are also given to more men than women, and African Americans receive the largest share of athletic scholarships among minority students.
So, how do students feel when they know that the potential of getting an athletic scholarship to a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) school is so low?
Junior Christine Keller, captain of the girls’ soccer team, believes that working towards getting an athletic scholarship is worth it, but only if the student plans on pursuing the sport as a career.
“Unless you are insanely good, it’s going to be really hard to get any sort of money from colleges. For instance, The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team is the best in the world, so even if a high schooler gets a scholarship to play soccer for a college, playing in college will more than likely not help them if they want to pursue a career as a female soccer player because of the level of competition that there is going to be to get to that level,” Keller said.

Those who do plan on getting recruited by a top college face a difficult process. After going through countless emails between unresponsive colleges, some sports like soccer

have specific tournaments that high schoolers have to compete at. Those
tournaments have a better chance of having college scouts. However, an athlete can’t be sure which college scouts are going to be there, or if any will show up at all. At those tournaments, there is also a very slim chance that any of the players get to talk to the scouts, so that leads to a conflict in communication.
Besides participating in school, many also participate in club sports off campus, which has even more competition for athletic scholarships. Certain sports tend to be held in higher priority when it comes to who is going to be recruited, and then eventually, who will be given scholarship money.
According to Scholarshipstats.com, official sports are limited to giving out only 177,559
scholarships, with cross country, tennis, and swimming getting less than half of what these organizations set aside for sports like football and basketball.
Pullquote Photo

Unless you are insanely good, it’s going to be hard to get any sort of money from colleges.”

— Chrissy Keller

“It’s not easy for a soccer player to get a scholarship. Compared to other sports like football, it is extremely hard because for soccer, the college coaches and scouts go overseas to places like England to look for players to bring over to the states. Not only do we have to fight the rest of the country for scholarships, but the rest of the world,”  senior soccer player Nick Hatch said.

Junior Jason Berry, who wrestles for the varsity team, also shares the sentiment that sports that are not given as much funding faces a harder time of getting scholarship money, but emphasizes lots of hard work, especially if you are a wrestler.
“A sport like wrestling is unique because the demand for it is not as high when it comes to recruiting for college, but it all depends on how hard you are willing to work for it. Wrestling in high school isn’t easy, and to get to a level where colleges will notice you requires an extreme amount of hard work and dedication,” Berry said.
But really, when it comes down to it, whether or not athletic scholarships are a waste of effort is entirely subjective. Different people come from different backgrounds and have different reasons for playing a sport in high school. Some do it purely for fun, because it looks good on a college application or simply to be recognized by a college for the chance of earning a scholarship, no matter how rare it may be.
“I would say that most people in high school play sports because they enjoy it, but you definitely have many who play because they know that there is the potential of earning an athletic scholarship,” Keller said.
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Scholar Season