College scholarships for athletes are rare, but that doesn't stop parents from talking about them

College scholarships for athletes are rare, but that doesn't stop parents from talking about them

Today I’m at Families in the Loop with the piece, “Why Focusing on Athletic Scholarships Hurts Our Kids.” Parents talk about college scholarships all the time, be it in regard to the third grader who plays better than his or her teammates to the middle schooler who catches some eyes.

First, have you ever heard a parent talk about an academic scholarship to a university? I have not. That’s a problem. Second, while I get that athletic scholarships can be awarded early to young athletes, first consider a few facts about college athletic scholarships:

* According to MoneyWatch, only 2 percent of high school athletes win sports scholarships every year at NCAA colleges and universities.

* For those lucky enough to earn a scholarship, the average award is less than $11,000, which, while significant, does not cover all the costs.

* There are only six sports where all the scholarships are full ride: football, men and women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics, volleyball, and tennis.

*Other sports are considered equivalency sports, where coaches can divide their scholarship money however they like, leading to some very, very tiny scholarships.

As I wrote at Families in the Loop, “Guess what university admissions officers look at first on an application? That’s right, academic achievement. Grades. Brains matter more than brawn. So teach your kid to study as well as how to throw a mean curve ball. Spend as much time talking about books as you do about wins and losses.”

Check out my other reasons for thinking this focus on the future fails to benefit us, or our kids here.

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