Myths and Realities of College Athletics and Recruiting

There is a certain level of romanticism that is associated with college athletics.  People watch sports on television and assume that everyone on the field or court is having a marvelous time.  If people played sports in their past, they might picture themselves playing in that game, and they might even convince themselves that they could have “made it” themselves.  To be sure, some students very much enjoy the experience of collegiate sports.  However, there are also some misconceptions that need to be addressed so that people do not sign on for an experience with the wrong expectations.  Therefore, here are a few myths and realities of college athletics and recruiting. 

Time to work

Some athletes excel at their sport at the high school level without a great deal of effort.  They may work relatively hard, but in high school they may simply be bigger, faster, or stronger, and these physical abilities may carry them throughout the season.  When athletes get to college, they may find themselves in a quickly leveled playing field.  The level of effort that is required and expected at the college level may far surpass what some students expected to face.  Obviously, some are up to the challenge but others may find that they do not love the sport enough to dedicate the time that is required. 

Balanced activities

Another misconception about college sports is the idea that the student athlete will have ample time to participate in other activities.  Some athletes can maintain grades, participate in other arenas, and keep up friendships.  However, other athletes find themselves literally consumed with their particular sport.  There may be little time for class, studying, and friends.  This may lead them to select easier classes and lesser obligations so that they can concentrate on their athletic commitments. 

Making it big

Finally, there is the issue of success and glory.  Again, people may watch sports and imagine themselves hoisting the championship trophy while the team celebrates around them.  This certainly happens to some athletes, but plenty of others do not win, or even play for that matter.  In many ways, youth sports today is driven by parents who have unrealistic dreams of their child “making it big” by succeeding in college and becoming a professional athlete. 

Again, some people make it to the professional ranks, but this is an extremely small percentage of athletes compared to how many participate in collegiate sports.  Therefore, when people play sports at the college level, they must be willing to work hard but also understand what their commitment may mean to the rest of their life.  In addition, they should not assume that certain outcomes will occur.  If they do, the student can celebrate.  However, if they don’t, they should not be shocked or flabbergasted that they did not have an easy journey to professional stardom.