Athletics *redshirt @ DI* or participate @ DIII?

<p>This week has got to be the most stressful of all weeks now that college offers, scholarships, and financial aid packages are in hand. My DS has narrowed his options of ten schools down to four. He is a NMF and an athlete. Three of his top picks are DIII where he would make an impact on the team right away. However, each of the DIII schools will require about $20,000 out of pocket costs after scholarships and little to no FA. There is one DI school that is practically free because of the NMF package. The downside is the team is very deep with talent and DS may have to redshirt his first year.<br>
I believe he will have a better overall college experience at the DI school even though it is not a top Nationally ranked University. I promised my DH I would let DS make this decision without adding more stress on DS.<br>
Has any other "seasoned" parent of an athlete delt with my DS's situation? What was the outcome?</p>

<p>I have a daughter in a similar but different scenario. Would be immediate DIII impact athlete vs. smaller DI not a big impact. Obviously, every situation is different but here is a thought.
Unless your son is a professional prospect, most likely his sports career will for all intents and purposes end at graduation of college. Therefore, choose the school for the best academic and collegiate experience, not necessarily for the best sports program. Also, consider the two options of not wanting to play anymore and/or injury. Then are you happy at the school?
Also, this is a DIII/DI generaliztion because I have no idea what schools your son is thinking about. DI schools tend to treat their athletic programs as full time jobs. DIII much more low key, especially off seasons. A consideration if it is an academic challenge.
The money is of course a key issue that only your family can or should discuss. My discussion above takes the money aspect out of the picture.
Hope it helps a little.<br>
At our house the decision was to go DIII at an outstanding school, education first, athletics second.
You know, in the end this is a good problem, at least you have choices. None of them are wrong. Good luck!!!</p>

<p>What schools? and what sport?</p>

<p>My d was in the exact same situation last year. She went DIII and passed up going to a DI. She would not have started her, most likely, first two years at a DI school. Athletics, as you know take a ton of time at a DI school. She is at a DIII school where the athletic time commitment is not all that much more than high school. She is getting to know everyone at her school, not just the athletes, a top notch education and enjoying herself - for the most part. Of course, my d did not have the option of going pro.</p>

<p>Definitely look at the time commitments involved. In some cases, being on the team is having a full time job. Weight training, year round practice, etc. Not as much time for academic pursuits.</p>

<p>I don't see anything wrong with redshirting. Many athletes redshirt. You still get to practice with the team and compete (if an individual sport). You just don't compete for the school.</p>

<p>Good luck with the decision! You've gotten a lot of good advice above.</p>

<p>My S had that dilemma 4 years ago now. It was so hard for him to decide, but I did leave it completely up to him and he ultimately chose the D1 with no guarantee of playing time (and no money....)</p>

<p>He was featured in an article this fall in his school's magazine about walk-on athletes. He said in there that he finally decided after his high school advisor told him that if there was one place he would really regret passing up, he should go there. And he said he realized right away that it was the D1 school with no guarantees of playing time. </p>

<p>I truly believe he would have been happy at any of the schools, and I also believe that he would have been happy at his current school even if the sports had not worked out. But for many other kids, they have chosen the D3 and been incredibly happy, with lots of playing time and a really good college experience.</p>

<p>Let him go where his heart is leading him. Also, if he does choose the D1 and the D1 doesn't work, I think it is much easier to transfer to one of the D3s after freshman year, because he clearly can play at that level and the coaches are often very supportive of such a transfer--at least I know several players who have done that and have been very happy. </p>

<p>Good luck! It is a stressful time. But it's awfully much fun to be a college athlete, I think!</p>

<p>Go for the best academics since he obviously has brains as well as brawn. mwgdc had a lot of good points. In 5, 10 and 20 years which will have had the greatest impact on his life? More than likely he will use what he learned in the classroom much more than what he accomplished in his sport, don't sacrifice a better education for playtime. And, redshirting is common.</p>

<p>Thanks for all your feedback. DS is a distance runner. Until he makes his final decision, I would rather not name the schools involved.<br>
DS has asked that I notify NMSC with a change to his "first-choice college" selection.<br>
Can you compete in CC and redshirt indoor and/or outdoor track freshman year?</p>

<p>I don't have a whole lot to add to this and don't know about redshirting for a season vs. a year (although I think a coach could tell him that). I just wanted to echo that the wisest advice we've been given is to pick the school apart from the athletics. I always felt my son belonged in a smaller school, so DIII was a natural choice for us. Where would he want to be if he gets injured and can't run through college?</p>

<p>If it were anything but a clock sport (track, swimming), I'd say you can't transfer from D3 to D1, but in your son's case, the stopwatch is what determines his opportunities.</p>

<p>For a dedicated distance runner, I think the training difference between D3 and D1 isn't as great as for other sports, as it is more of a year-round thing than other sports as well.</p>

<p>With the NMF (as opposed to the athletic) scholarship, the time pressure of D1 competition is probably less. If his times are competitive come the beginning of the season, he will compete. Otherwise, he will not. No coach is crazy enough to sit a top rated time because he didn't come to off-season "voluntary" workouts. And it sounds like he doesn't have the scholarship leverage, so your son can train to suit his needs and time schedule.</p>

<p>He's going to have 4 years of eligibility to compete, whether they are years 1-4 or 2-5 of his college career is irrellevent. </p>

<p>One advantage of sitting freshman year in D1 is that if he does finish his degree in 4 years, is that it can help with admissions for grad school having that year of eligibility if he is competitive.</p>

<p>"Can you compete in CC and redshirt indoor and/or outdoor track freshman year?"</p>

<p>Yes, you can. It will probably be totally at the discretion of his coach, however.</p>