I see it every year and have been seeing it for about a decade now. College football has become big business and it has only been superseded by the big business of a college education. Now the mad rush is on to acquire college educations and obtain them at the deepest discount possible.
Our American culture has set things up to where we believe that the only path to success in life is through the securing of a college degree. This ingraining of thought has led to the booming business of college tuition. As the message of college degree = success has been downloaded to our psyche, the value of the diploma has risen immensely. We all know what happens when something rises in value in our present culture. When value rises the cost of said item is sure to sky rocket. Welcome to the business of a college education. Colleges you have never heard of will look you dead in the face and tell you that tuition costs $50,000 annually. They won’t blink when they tell you that either.
Our desire for a college education has been a big windfall for both the college institutions and our government as we have rush to Uncle Sam to obtain low rate student loans. The perils of the student loan are now being realized by millions of Americans and so they are seeking better options. What are those better options? Those better options reside in athletic scholarships. Why go into $250k of debt to start out our adult lives when we can just grab one of these athletic scholarships that we think are for free.
Many have deemed that academic scholarships are just too darn hard to get and too stressful to keep. Athletic scholarships are where it’s at and there’s a growing segment that think “how hard could it be?” Those attitudes seem to be present most in the sport of football. Perhaps it’s because football is the most popular or because football hands out the most full ride and partial ride scholarships in college athletics. Whatever the case may be, I have encountered a growing phenomenon where young “athletes” and their parents think they can just go through the motions, do the minimum and the full ride college tuition scholarships are going to appear under their pillow like that tooth fairy money.
I have watched lesser athletically talented youngsters shy away from the hard work and the steps that their more athletically gifted counterparts take part in all the while expecting the same results. You know who I am talking about. I am talking about the above average 3.5 GPA student who is just good enough to secure a starting spot on a team not overrun with depth and thinks that because he’s a starter, the scholarship is sure to follow. You even have some who are career backups who believe that because they attended all the team workouts and did the running in the summer, a college owes them “one of those scholarships”. It is here where I could post any funny “What the hell are you thinking” meme and it would be appropriate.
Lost or perhaps ignored by these athletes and their parents is all the “extra” work that has been put in by the athletes who have made their pursuit of a college football scholarship and professional football career their lives. The ‘fall in the lappers” as I will call them, ignore the track practices, workouts with the trainers, the extra conditioning, 7-on-7 practices, attending of football camps, additional weightlifting, film watching, missed vacations, etc. that makes up the lives of the dedicated young athlete. The “fall in the lappers” think that their trips to Vermont, the coast of France, weekend in Sanibel, etc. where they relax and have a great time are setting them on the course to play college football amongst 100 men who have ate, slept and dreamed college football since they were sagging in pair of Huggies diapers.
This mindset continues to baffle me. I don’t see high school students being particularly outraged when their 3.5 GPA and 990 SAT score does not gain them an acceptance letter from Dartmouth. However, I am seeing youngsters of that same ilk burn with anger when their 5’8″ 165 lb. 4.71 stats don’t yield multiple offers from college football programs. If you don’t fit the profile, you don’t fit the profile. What should have been done is one of two things. Option A, realize the physical limitations that you possess, focus more on upping your academic profile and use football as a strong point on your resume when trying to pursue an academic scholarship. Option B, realize your athletic limitations and despite them being a reality, bust your ass to overcome them. This would include outworking all of your teammates in your quest for athletic greatness. You know what that would involve? You guessed it right, this big thing called sacrifice. Stay after practice, lift extra weights, use athletic trainers if you can, attend camps, eat right, study the game, etc. Basically, do all of the things that the guys who are earning the scholarships are doing and then some.
Some people get lucky in life. Sometimes things just happen for people even though they really didn’t work hard to get them. There are times when a guy buys that one scratch off and hits the big time. Those times are few and very far in between. If that’s the route you want to take, no problem but how dare you get angry when that scratch off says “sorry you are not a winner”.