March 25, 2008
Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships Part II by Bill Pennington
Koach Karl brings you Part II of this article on Sports Scholarships:
Many students and their parents think of playing a sport not because of scholarship money, but because it is stimulating and might even give them a leg up in the increasingly competitive process of applying to college. But coaches and administrators, the gatekeepers of the recruiting system, said in interviews that parents and athletes who hoped for such money were much too optimistic and that they were unprepared to effectively navigate the system. The athletes, they added, were the ones who ultimately suffered.
The best-laid plans of coaches do not always bring harmony on teams, however, and scholarships can be at the heart of the unrest. Who is getting how much tends to get around like the salaries in a workplace. The result "scholarship envy" can divide teams.
The chase for a scholarship has another side that is rarely discussed. Although those athletes who receive athletic aid are viewed as the ultimate winners, they typically find the demands on their time, minds and bodies in college even more taxing than the long journey to get there.
There are 6 a.m. weight-lifting sessions, exhausting practices, team meetings, study halls and long trips to games. Their varsity commitments often limit the courses they can take. Athletes also share a frustrating feeling of estrangement from the rest of the student body, which views them as the privileged ones. In this setting, it is not uncommon for first- and second-year athletes to relinquish their scholarships.
"Kids who have worked their whole life trying to get a scholarship think the hard part is over when they get the college money," said Tim Poydenis, a senior at Villanova receiving $3,000 a year to play baseball. "They don't know that it's a whole new monster when you get here. Yes, all the hard work paid off. And now you have to work harder."
Check back next week for Part III of this scholarship article….