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Is leaving my D1 team the right decision?

kirbs18kirbs18 0 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
I am in a messy situation. I am entering my 3rd year as a collegiate student-athlete in a Divison 1 sport. I was a high school recruit and am solely receiving academic money. The past 2 years, I have become increasingly unhappy and stressed, and am feeling burnt out. It is tough enough to be expected to put your sport before your schooling-- and it is even more difficult with my engineering major. Both my grades and health have suffered from the insane amounts of stress I juggle every day (In 2 years, I had bronchitis 4 times, and the flu). On top of that, I am not perfectly happy with my team mates, who tend to kiss up to the coaches in hopes of being favored. I understand this is common in sports, but the ingenuine behavior continues to disgust me. My coaches are no better; they are inconsistent, unreliable, and hypocritical in many of their teachings. I believe they are good people with good intentions, but fail in execution. Due to a conflict with a disrespectful team mate, where I spoke my frustrations to other players who relayed my thoughts to the coaches (to make themselves look better), the coaches have tried to push me off of the team and bench me despite my hard work, commitment, and talent. I have done what I can to talk to them, but they deny that is the reason. It is clear as day that it is indeed the reason.
I have the option to transfer, but being so far into my difficult major makes this complicated, in addition to my concentration being offered at few schools. I also am reluctant to leave my friends and significant other. My parents are pushing for me to find another school or stay on the team, but I am not interested in the idea. I want to focus on my schooling, and my happiness. Once I am in the workplace, I will not have the freedom I do now, and I want to enjoy it. On the other hand, I do not want to waste the opportunity I received, nor do I want to regret it down the line.
Should I stick it out for the next few years, or is leaving my team my best option?
13 replies
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Replies to: Is leaving my D1 team the right decision?

  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1392 replies13 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I hope other more experienced parents will chime in to give you some guidance. I am a parent of an hs athlete, physical and mental health is definitely my DC’s first priority, ahead of academic and, especially ahead of sports. Your health is so so important, there are always club/recreational opportunities down the road.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22423 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    From your description, I don't think you will find happiness on another team. If you otherwise like the school, stay there and quit the team. You have friends who aren't on the team so your adjustment should be fine. You will not have friends on the team after you quit.

    My daughter was an athlete and an engineer. She didn't get along with her coach but did like the asst coach and she did like some of her teammates but not all of them. After a summer of complaining about the team, coach, roommates, I told her to quit. Horror! She didn't want to quit, she wanted to complain.

    She always put academics first. She also got sick a lot (more than in hs) with strep several times and the flu (actual diagnosed Type A and B), but I think college kids get sick because of the living conditions, new germs, keeping different hours and sometimes not eating well (although she ate better than most), missing sleep. My other daughter, non-athlete, also got sick more than before college.
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  • voyagermomvoyagermom 56 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    While I have not had children in this situation, my friend's daughter had a somewhat similar experience with her college team. She had been recruited as an athlete but no money tied to playing on the team, is an engineering major, was frequently stressed and sick, and ultimately decided not to continue with the sport her sophomore year. She liked the school and stayed there and has had no regrets. And her GPA improved by quite a bit the year after she left the team.

    While I understand it can feel hard to leave a sport that I am guessing you have played for many years and has always been important to you, and your family probably spent a lot of money on as a travel sport, you should put your mental and physical health first. Both are being impacted negatively. I really do not think you will regret your decision to leave the team.
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  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 3872 replies25 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Since you are only on academic scholarship, you can quit without worry. It’s quite common actually, especially in certain sports like women’s soccer. I actively discouraged my D from D1 sports based on all the advice I received from former D1 athletes. D is much happier playing intramurals and a club sport than she would have been as a D1 athlete. She needs balance and less stress, which is missing for many when trying to juggle the demands of D1 sports and academics. It sounds like you like your school and major and have a good social network at your current school. I see no reason to transfer.

    Maybe you can play your sport at the intramural or club level instead.
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  • happy1happy1 22659 replies2223 postsVerified Member Senior Member
    edited July 8
    Since you are not on an athletic scholarship it seems to me that you are free to quit the team if you would be OK not playing your sport. I wouldn't leave the school since you seem happy in every other respect.
    edited July 8
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  • sushirittosushiritto 3672 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 8
    As @itsgettingreal17 mentions, quitting a sport is quite common. The other sport that appears to get a higher drop out rate, other than soccer, is track and field. I've heard from a few parents where their kids got sick and tired of their D1 track (or D1 soccer) coaches and team. One quit one of those famous Ivy League schools.

    Having said that, I would not let those coaches and players get the better of me. They're trying to get you to quit? You've stuck it out for 2 years for a reason. I'd continue to work hard, show up for practice and games, be mentally available, and let the "chips fall where they may." I would try to NOT let your teammates and coaches bother you. Forget about the politics and what your coaches and teammates think or feel about you. Screw'em. All you can do is control your work product when you're on the field, pitch or track.

    Hopefully, if you're able to mentally block the absolute immaturity, BS and the other nonsense, focus on you, keep silent as much as possible, then maybe you'll feel a lot better and your health will improve and stress levels will decline. If not, then quit, but don't transfer.

    I realize this may not be the popular opinion here, but I tend to be contrarian.
    edited July 8
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  • EconPopEconPop 87 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 9
    @kirbs18
    I didn't play sports while in college. All I can offer is the following.

    A childhood friend landed a scholarship to play baseball at a small non-D1 university. The scholarship paid most of his college expense including tuition. He was miserable the first year, for some of the same reasons you list. Mostly because he didn't have enough time to devote to schoolwork. The travel for baseball during the season kept him out of classes, and the practices+games disrupted his studying more than he preferred. Collegiate baseball was not as understanding about his studies as high school baseball had been. He wanted to quit baseball, but had second (and third, and fourth ....) thoughts about giving up the sports scholarship. He decided to stick with baseball going into his sophomore year.

    Not long after the baseball season started that second year, he realized he wanted out more than ever. He loved baseball, but it wasn't worth it to him. He quit the team, gave up his scholarship, and continued at that college. He graduated, and went on to earn his Masters at one of the state flagships. He is eternally grateful he made the right choice for him.

    Only you know what is the right choice for you.
    edited July 9
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  • HPuck35HPuck35 1976 replies15 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sounds like it would be better to give up the D1 level sport. If you want, try club or intermural or just go cold turkey. You can look back on the good times you did have playing and rejoice it those. It is more important that you prepare yourself for your career.

    My son could have played D1 in his sport but had talked to many friends who tried it combined with engineering. They all said the two were not compatible and it only gets worse trying to schedule in upper division labs. He went the club route and even gave that up after 2 years. He has never regretted his decision.
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  • dcolosidcolosi 521 replies22 postsRegistered User Member
    My D had a friend who was a D1 scholar athlete who after her second year quite the team but stayed at the school. She said her life was nothing but school and golf and nothing else and she was miserable and felt like she was missing out on so much. After dropping the sport she realized her whole network was also gone at that point since everything was built around her sport. She decided to rush a sorority, never looked back and had a really good experience from that point forward until she graduated just recently.

    I would only say, if you drop the sport do you have a social network outside of the team? If not, what is your plan to have that outlet going forward. You don't want to drop the sport and then find yourself on an island.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7598 replies79 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 13
    OP wrote: "In 2 years, I had bronchitis 4 times and the flu."

    It seems clear to me that OP needs a lifestyle change; either transfer or quit the sport & concentrate on academics.

    P.S. It would be helpful to know the sport in question for a variety of reasons that could yield more helpful suggestions.
    edited July 13
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22423 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    My son could have played D1 in his sport but had talked to many friends who tried it combined with engineering. They all said the two were not compatible

    My daughter did it and enjoyed college very much. Hundreds of athletes are in engineering (or pre-med, or math, or chemistry). MIT has many athletes who are in engineering. I recently had the need to look up the majors of the Colorado School of Mines men's soccer team - ALL engineers except one 'undecided' (and I bet he'll be an engineer too, since most of the school is in engineering).

    But the OP doesn't like her team. So quit.
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  • HPuck35HPuck35 1976 replies15 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 15
    Colorado School of Mines is a D2 school. The level of time commitment is typically much higher in D1. It would have been for my son. Practices we're every afternoon starting at 2pm for the couple of D1 schools that he did look at.

    I actually went to MIT and played varsity sports. MIT is D3 for most sports including the one I played. It required me to be organized but was not an overly burdensome time scheduling issue. I actually will encourage students to play a sport but caution about the time commitment for D1.
    edited July 15
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  • StPaulDadStPaulDad 382 replies1 postsRegistered User Member
    edited July 16
    It's pretty clear you could go on at your school with the academic, social and financial supports you have, so let's look at life without your sport. Are you playing? Will not playing leave a hole in your life you are worried about filling? Many high performing athletes have a need to compete that got them to the level they're at, and transitioning to life without the game can be difficult. If you don't want to quit because you are playing and enjoying success, or you fear you'll never get to play at this level again, then it's harder. For most people college is the last and best competition level they'll ever get to play at, and it's hard to turn away from the chance to wring out the last drop of that opportunity.

    But if you're burned out, done, just not feeling it anymore then stop. A lot of other athletes come to that point every year and just move on with their lives. Sometimes it's injuries, others lose playing time on merit, some get in personal snarls with coaches or teammates, and some are just tired of it. D1 sports demand a tremendous amount of work and sacrifice to fit into a 24-26 hour day. Adding school work to that, particularly demanding courses, makes it even harder, so if your heart isn't in it you are going to be miserable.

    Your choice is to put up with all this stuff to wring out the last couple years of that top level experience or just be done and find some other place to enjoy your sport while you get on with life. It's a matter of what those last two years are worth to you, and you're the only one who can make that call.
    edited July 16
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