Athletics in College: Worth it or Major Regrets?

<p>A lot of info we don't know here. For example, we don't know if this boy has any scholarship offers, let alone offers from a big-time program (from the tenor of the post, I would doubt the latter). The experience differs a great deal depending on the level of the program. We also don't know the financial particulars of his situation. We do know, however, that (at least sans football) he is not going to get in at the kind of highly selective academic institution that some of the posters are talking about.</p>

<p>But in any event, the bottom line for me is, how much does the kid love football. If he really loves it, he should go for it; you only get one chance in life to play intercollegiate sports. If he can't handle the the time commitment, he can drop it. But only he knows the answer to that, and I'm neither the boy nor the parent.</p>

<p>Speaking from a recruited-athlete perspective, I would agree with EMM1 and hawkette. </p>

<p>The OP hasnt left us with too much info, so even parents in similar situations cant comment too much - we dont even know the full situation.</p>

<p>And, I am going to a very academic-nerdy school, and I will be doing track and field. I say, let your son play football if it is his passion. I, too, will not be an Olympian, and my future is my brain, but T&F is my passion and I love doing the sport. Not to brag, but it is also my vanity that keeps me going (Im from Canada, and am two time national champion here... ranked in the top 20 in North America)</p>

<p>If football proves to be too much of a challenge, leaving the team might be necessary, or buckle down, get a tutor and give up on the weekend parties for a while. It can be done, I know a junior at my college who has been doing T&F all three years thus far, and maintained a very good GPA. I reiterate, it can be done. Let your son make the final decision.</p>

<p>And, side note, if this is a scholarship thing, and he is getting one for football, he has to make the decision for all four years - he could lose his scholarship if he stops playing for his marks</p>

<p>What about volleyball? What kind of time commitment does a college volleyball player face? Is it any different for D1 vs. D3? For example, assuming a kid is qualified, is there any significant difference playing for the Ivies (D1) vs. MIT (D3)?</p>

<p>EMM1 - Of course, it can be done, but I think those that succeed in the really tough majors and play sports (esp. Division I) are the exceptions not the rule. It also depends on the school. Ie. - a major of engineering at Harvey Mudd, MIT, Cal Tech, Stanford, Berkeley, etc. is tough to survive without having any athletic involvement let alone trying to balance the time requirements of an athlete. So I hear you. There are success stories of kids doing it all. My son knew he could have done it all but chose not to. It's a personal choice. I still think it is very, very difficult and I stand by my original comment.</p>

<p>I assumed from the OP that we're talking about a relatively less competitive environment than the SEC. Family experience - not me or my kids - is that it does depend on the major and competitive urges of the kid. My relatives went down to club level because they found that pre-med and math and the like ate so much time and the competition level for intercollegiate play was high and demanded a lot of time and effort. </p>

<p>That said, a lot of my friends at my Ivy school played and did very well in school. They managed their time. If a kid can manage his or her time, then sports becomes possible. That really is the key. Imagine rowing or swimming and being up at dawn most days to workout and not having the efficiency to get your work done before late night.</p>

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I was a recruited DI football player back in the dark ages of the late 1970's. Had several options at that level to go along with several options for straight academics (including MIT).</p>

<p>I was heck bent on becoming a Petroleum Engineer, but I did not want to give up football just yet. So I chose a DI school that offered the chance for both.</p>

<p>After my sophomore football season, I dropped football to concentrate on my studies. It wasn't a case of trying to get good grades. It was more a case of trying to get passing grades.</p>

<p>College football is consuming. Especially if you want to be able to compete at the highest level. My biggest problems came from fatigue and time management. My typical class load required a minimum of 3 hours of homework on the average day, and usually more than that. But after working out and eating dinner, it was often 8:00 pm or later before I was able to get to work. The fatigue factor made it difficult to dive right in and be effective.</p>

<p>IMO, a kid should go with his heart. Give it a try and see how it works out. In my case, I will always know that I played and contributed to the football program, and still identify with that program. But my career after college was framed infinitely more by my engineering degree. It's all good.

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<p>thanks for this post...this helps-- as our student-- who is a high performance athlete--and trains 6 days a week--wants to also balance engineering. Already in highschool the days are very very long--and our student is talking to D1 coaches. One of the things we look at is the roster--and to see if there are jrs and srs with engineering majors--...
since our student loves the sport--we have suggested to go with it--and if in a yr, 2 or three, things change--then change. Our student's feet aren't in cement and can make a change to the path--we ask our student to evaluate the school--as though you coudln't play--so that--if that happens...kiddo is still happy.</p>

<p>Very important to evaluate the school as if not playing..... This played a big part in my son's decision. Also remember that if they go on an athletic scholarship and decide not to play, they lose the money.</p>

<p>I am a recent grad and thought I would give my two cents. I was recruited by schools like Rice to play football and decided to play at a top LAC that is DIII. I had friends who missed every Tuesday practice for four years because they were Pre-Med and one was an all-american and the other was all-conference. My brother was extremely successful as a football player and while his grades were not stellar he works at a phenomenal company as a geologist. I think succeeding in the classroom and on the field is attainable at the DIII level. To be honest, the amount of time we spent on football in season was nearly identical to the time my friends at DI schools spent. It was our time out of season that allowed us to catch up and be involved in other aspects of campus from volunteering to writing to hosting radio shows to going to parties.</p>

<p>I'll also add this comment that may or may not be pertinent. I do not understand why football players go to the Iveys. Obviously, they provide an outstanding education; however, athletes at HPY are still DI athletes and they are putting in the same time in the gym/field as other DI schools. So if you are willing to devote that much time, then go and play at Rice, Vandy, Northwestern, Stanford where people actually care about the games. Otherwise, go to a DIII school and get a well-rounded college experience. That's just my personal experience.</p>

<p>A couple of months ago I talked with a new teacher at the high school I teach at about her college career. She went to college as a volleyball player on scholarship. She told me that as an athlete she was expected to produce 100+ percent on both the court and in the classroom. Every week she had to show her coach her class schedule and explain what her plan was to do well on a test or project. She also had tutoring resources that were not available to non-athletes. </p>

<p>She clearly shared that she never had the "typical" college experience and she really doesn't know what that is. She said she probably could have had a little more of a social life, but she kept so busy between her athletic and academic responsibilities that it was just too much for her. I didn't ask her if she would do it all over again so I can't share that.</p>

<p>My understanding is that being a college level athlete is a full-time job and I agree that they should have good scholarships to help them with school costs because they certainly don't have time to earn money elsewhere.</p>

<p>D is a D1 athlete at a top 20 academic school. She is a rising senior and I honestly am amazed when I think she is going to graduate next year. It has been the hardest thing she has ever done. She hit rock bottom early on both academically and athletically as she adjusted to the high expectations in the classroom and her sport. Her first two years she dealt with academic probation, numerous injuries, emotional upheaval, coach threatening both years to reduce her scholarship, to name a few of her struggles. Although her story is probably extreme, I think all college athletes have struggles they must endure that other college students don't have to deal with. </p>

<p>As a post script, she had a great season this year setting school records in her sport and is now confident and successful in the classroom as well.</p>

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I'll also add this comment that may or may not be pertinent. I do not understand why football players go to the Iveys. Obviously, they provide an outstanding education; however, athletes at HPY are still DI athletes and they are putting in the same time in the gym/field as other DI schools. So if you are willing to devote that much time, then go and play at Rice, Vandy, Northwestern, Stanford where people actually care about the games. Otherwise, go to a DIII school and get a well-rounded college experience. That's just my personal experience.

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<p>Took the words out of my mouth! Another parent and I were just discussing how D1 (not ivies) have a great advantage for players--in perks--even beyond the money--such as academic support, housing/scheduling priority, sports/medical support etc</p>

<p>The time that the kids in D1 sports put in--is immense--far above a typical EC--and that commitment means alot of sacrifice. So it is a good quesiton to say--why play for an ivy vs another D1--since the D1 will help support the student-ahtletes's contribution (beyond the classroom)</p>

<p>To me you can both play a sport and take on a rigorous academic program IF you choose the right level. I went through this with my D and kept my fingers crossed as she considered the D1 vs. D3 debate. All the research and conversations we had with various people indicate it is doable and being done but at the D3 level not D1. Regardless of the NCAA commercial D1 is athlete-student, not student athlete. I think the other critical element is a word that appears in a couple of the above posts --- "passion". If the passion to participate is there, as it is in my D's case, you should go for it.</p>

<p>Not many people at Rice care about the football games- unless they sneak into a bowl.</p>

<p>There are lots of reasons to go to an Ivy as an athlete- even for football. You are NOT putting in the level of commitment that you would in the SEC. It is still high and very intense, but let's face it- the Ivy League is not the SEC or Big 12 (oh wait- is there still a Big 12?) You get supported as an athlete at the Ivy schools- you just don't get a scholarship.</p>

<p>A girl who graduated fr. h.s. with S1 went to Columbia, majored in Civil Engineering and was a top diver on the swim and dive team all four years, winning a conf. championship and setting sch. records in her event. Knew her since she was a toddler...always a great kid, very smart and dedicated. She also had p/t on campus jobs while there.
It can be done but takes a special person to compete and major in a tough curriculum.</p>

<p>alum08 and fogfog: If you think the commitment to play football at an Ivy is the same as at Vanderbilt, Northwestern, or Stanford, I have to conclude that you have never seen an Ivy football game. There are some great players on the field, but it's not anything like competitive D-I football.</p>

<p>Back in the day, I knew a number of athletes at my Ivy and its rival who did fine balancing football and challenging academics. The football captain my year went to UVa Law School and then clerked for Justice Powell; the quarterback at the time was a Molecular Biology major and pre-med; a future NFL all-star (who was not drafted, however) was an honors economics major; one of my roommates was a basketball recruit/pre-med. The kids who went on to the pros worked much, much harder at their sports after their college career ended than during it.</p>

<p>Lion 0709, your daughter is a special kid. I predict she will be a very productive member of society and will likely accomplish great things.</p>

<p>It sounds like it might be worth his while to look at the NESCAC schools. Their football season consists of only league play with no post-season play - and they can be very competitive. Great academics, work hard-play hard attitude, and out of season competition and practices are not allowed. The guys will still work out, lift and have "captain's practices" but the coaches are not allowed to be there and there is no requirement to attend - in fact a lot of players still do a semester abroad and many do very well academically. Sounds like the best of both worlds.</p>

<p>My son played lacrosse at an Ivy. He would not have given up his sport for anything. He did not have a "typical college experience" but tells us he wouldn't change a thing.</p>

<p>PS - It also depends on what he would be doing if not playing. I know that sports keeps a lot of kids on the relatively straight and narrow. Even kids you would never expect it of spend their down time partying if there is nothing else filling their time. Remember, the amount of time attending classes is significantly less than in high school. I can make a case for the discipline of keeping up with a team and your schoolwork with less time for MTV and the like. It doesn't sound like he has a passion for ECs except for sports - if he finds something at college he can do that instead of playing - but if he has nothing he's targeting then football may very well be a good thing.</p>

<p>The Ivy league invented football (either Harvard or Princeton - open to ongoing debate). There is so much history, tradition and rivalry in that sport in the Ivies, which to me is enough reason to play there.</p>