The truth about sports scholarships

Many parents are trying to live the dream through their sons and daughters — the dream of landing a college athletic scholarship by specializing in a sport year-round. Unfortunately, most of these dreams are never realized.

The odds of a sports scholarship paying for even a portion of a student’s college education are miniscule.

The College Board, a not-for-profit organization comprised of 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions, reports that a moderate cost for college students who attend a public university in their state of residence is $25,290 per year. The annual cost at a private college averages $50,900.

Meanwhile, the most recent data from the NCAA reveals that the average Division I athletic scholarship is worth only $10,400.

More significantly, the same study shows that fewer than 2 percent of all high school athletes (1 in 54) ever wear the uniform of an NCAA Division I school.

Even if the dream is realized, parents likely will spend more money for club sports than they ever regain through college athletic scholarships.

Thanks to the costs of club fees, equipment, summer camps, playing in out-of-state tournaments and private coaching, youth sports has become a $15 billion-per-year industry.

There is an option, and it’s a financially viable one: Encourage your sons and daughters to play sports at their high school.

In education-based high school sports, student-athletes are taught, as the term implies, that grades come first.

The real-life lessons that students experientially learn offer insights into leadership, overcoming adversity and mutual respect that cannot be learned anywhere else. Unlike club sports, coaches in an education-based school setting are held accountable by the guiding principles and goals of their school district.

And the cost of participating in high school sports is minimal in most cases.

While there is a belief that the only way to get noticed by college coaches is to play on non-school travel teams year-round, many Division I football and basketball coaches recently have stated that they are committed to recruiting students who have played multiple sports within the high school setting.

In addition, by focusing on academics while playing sports within the school setting, students can earn scholarships for academics and other talents—skill sets oftentimes nurtured while participating in high school activities.

These scholarships are more accessible and worth more money than athletic scholarships. While $3 billion per year is available for athletic scholarships, more than $11 billion is awarded for academic scholarships and other financial assistance.

Without a doubt, your sons and daughters will have more fun, make more friends and be better prepared for life beyond sport by participating in multiple sports and activities offered by the high school in your community.


Bob Gardner, executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Christopher Chun, Executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.

  1. No_They_Didn't March 27, 2018 9:55 am Reply

    Education is a day job.

    High School and college. Scholarship for sports is another story. For example, what if coming out of high school your son wanted to fix cars for a living? It is a day job. Technicians work. Cost of school varies. Same goes in any field of choice. Another example, it is x -mas season, you are setting up those x-mas lights around your house, your son is back home. A light bulb blows a fuse in one of the sockets, the whole series of lights doesn’t turn on. Education time; tell me why all of the x-mas lights will not work on all of IT? An education will take you a long ways. Do you ask your son who is back home from UH football or Oregon Ducks football? What did you guys do? How much are you paying for his college sports? Do you consider him smarter now?

  2. No_They_Didn't March 27, 2018 10:33 am Reply

    Since I am the teacher I’ll tell you. You use a multimeter to check for amps or current flow. Test each socket for continuity. When you reach a socket that shows no amps reading, replace the light bulbs. Do the same for all sockets to check for amps going through. When you are done, plug it in to your outlet, it should light up. Save you money.

    You can thank me instead.

  3. No_They_Didn't March 27, 2018 2:19 pm Reply

    In coming?

  4. No_They_Didn't March 27, 2018 2:27 pm Reply

    A light bulb only illuminates when a complete loop is formed in the circuit. If there is a break in the circuit, the light bulb will night light because no current passes through the socket. Fuse is broken. X-mas lights have the same circuit characteristics as a continuous loop. Same principles.


  5. No_They_Didn't March 27, 2018 2:34 pm Reply

    Above? Reads will not light up. This is due to an open circuit. No current flows through it. So just change the bad bulbs.

    X-mas time. Yep…

  6. No_They_Didn't March 27, 2018 2:54 pm Reply

    I am not with stupid Lieutenant governors from Kauai. Primary election 2018. Ballot.

  7. avcwbcoach March 27, 2018 10:38 pm Reply

    I am wondering if the author and participants participated themselves in High School or college sports, let alone a scholarship. I was one of 3 with a single Mom and would still be (40 years later) barefoot and pregnant , if not for the puttin in the work and going out of State on a full basketball scholarship. There was puking out on the fields at 7am after sprints in the snow, before 8am classes. The pressure of making grades to compete. There was no WNBA, it was all for the love of the game. If I had it, I would pay a million dollars for the privledge of another year of elegibillty . It helped launch me into a teaching career, which I loved for almost 40 years.
    It easy for people to try to dampen other’s dreams.
    On the education side of, LA Unified cancelled JV sports one year, crime, petty crime, domestic crime, drug use, pregnancies ALL exploded. They couldn’t add the JV sports fast enough. BTW, young people in athletics are more likely to participate in school government, keep their grades higher, more likely to graduate and aspire for a higher education. I was a marginal student and by mid career was writing college classes; sat on many academic affair committee, saw thousands of student through the academic maze and hardships. The message should include, keep yourself together, listen to you Kapuna and never, ever give up. Best wishes ALL

  8. billyjoebob March 28, 2018 1:49 pm Reply

    sunrise_blue, the light may be on but there is no one home.

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