So, here’s the scenario. Your highly decorated high school football player just scanned Time Magazine’s article on the top 25 college football programs by academics.
This young wide receiver/returner can run a 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. He has a 41-inch standing leap packed in 6-feet/3-inches of chiseled frame. His senior year recorded 22 touchdowns and averaged 18 yards per catch. He led his team to the district tournament, but the undefeated season ended there. One of the nation’s top 30 sought-after talents, your prospect received offers from 37 Division I programs; including several with BCS victories, three of the top twenty schools for his chosen study, and every major program within 200 miles of your hometown. He participated in the Under Armour All-American Game and U.S. Army All-American Game, showcasing his talents with a total of 5 receptions.
Commitment plans were moving along relatively smoothly. His top choice football program far exceeded the options. The program is a NFL mill with one of the highest number of NFL draft picks. The team is in desperate need to re-tool its wide receiver core as the offense relies on the spread formation and putting pressure on the secondary — something your prospect has been prioritizing. And though his recruiting class has a few more highly-rated wide receivers, your prospect will have an excellent opportunity for exposure in a program whose games are featured regularly in national programming and post-season bowl game. As for career concerns, if the NFL does not come calling, your prospect will head directly to graduate school then move into industry.
You are pleased with the choice as it happens to be your alma mater!
- 1.7% of college football players play professionally, 0.08% of high school players do. (Source)
- 11.6% of college baseball players play professionally. (Source)
- High school players: 1,108,441 (Source)
- College players: 67,887 (Source)
- Professional Draftees: 255 (Source)
- In 2008, 76% of white college football player graduated, while only 59% of black football players graduated. (Source)
- Of the 28 teams featured in 2008-2009 bowl games, 19 graduated less than half of their black players. (Source)
- NFL Draft First Round Contract Range: High — Andrew Luck (Colts, QB) at $22.1MM, Low — Harrison Smith (Vikings, FS) at $5.78MM.(Source)
- Top Three Draft Picks by College: USC (480), Notre Dame (471), Ohio State (404). (Source)
- Draft Picks by Top Schools: Grambling (119), Southern (76), Yale (44), Princeton (27), Harvard (19), Chicago (2). (Source)
But something happened on the way to your prospect’s signing day. In sharing the Time Magazine’s article with you, he comments, “My college is not on the list.”
The list factors: graduation rates in-general, graduation rates of football player versus over male population; margins between the graduation rates of blacks and white footballs as compared to black-white graduation rates in the general male student body, and the graduation rate difference between black football players and black students in-general.
You review the Time’s report and, like your future college football player, are stunned.
Three questions confront you. And they are three that confront countless young athletes and families:
- 1. Do you advise the prospect to continue in the first choice that prior to the report far exceeded the others? Or do you encourage looking for another?
- 2. As an alumnus and booster, what, if anything, do you discuss with college officials and/or the alumni association regarding the football team not making the academic list?
- 3. Are any of the data presented in this article topics you would like to explore in future conversations.
Let me hear from you!
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