Tuesday, October 5, 2010

ESPN Rise's guide to college recruiting

On July 4, 2010, we at The Record explored the hazy world of college recruiting and how local athletes and their families have dealt with the experience.

To read those stories, click here.

Today, ESPN announced it has released an online package targeted at high school-level athletes and offers information on the recruiting process. To view that, click here.

ESPN columnist Gregg Easterbrook wrote a succinct 1,000-word column on the major priorities high school athletes looking for a college scholarship should pursue. To read that column, click here. It's worth the read.

Personally, the most important fact I learned while researching our July 4 project was that not every scholarship is a full ride. In fact, most scholarships offer athletes just a fraction of their tuition costs. Here is an excerpt from my story:

Aside from major basketball and football recruits, most NCAA Division I and Division II scholarship players are not paying for tuition solely with their athletic prowess — a full ride. The average athletic scholarship is in the neighborhood of $10,000, according to a 2008 report in the New York Times. Take out the basketball and football scholarships and that figure drops to $8,707.

Depending on whether a student-athlete attends a private or public university, their scholarship may cover 25% or less of the cost of tuition. That doesn’t even take into account room and board, food, books and travel expenses.

Most college baseball teams have fewer than a dozen scholarships to award, meaning that many players split the value of a full scholarship.

Here are the keys that I uncovered in my investigation, some of which overlaps Easterbrook;s column:
Of all the parents and coaches contacted for this story, many have presented a checklist of priorities that all those beginning to embark on a college scholarship journey should consider. Depending on the source, they go something like this:

1) Develop good study habits and time-management skills in high school.
2) Play for the highest-quality travel team that will accept them and take as many private lessons as the family can afford.
3) Recognize what level of college athletics is best for the student-athlete. (Division III schools cannot offer athletic scholarships, but may be able to award an equal package in academic and financial aid).
4) Pick a school and an academic major that fits the student-athlete in case an injury prematurely ends an athletic career.
5) Make a decision based on the coach after selecting the right school. Coaches are always free to leave, which can leave a player out of luck if the replacement has different ideas on how to run the program.
6) Finally, do not get hung up on the dollar amount offered in scholarships. Which school will give your child the best chance to succeed after graduation?

Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas on the college recruitment process? Would you like to join other parents and athletes in a live chat on the blog on the topic? If so, what day and time best for you?

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