There was an interesting article in the New York Times today about athletic scholarships in college. Just in case the link goes dead I will try to summarize it.
Essentially it talks about how coaches of minor sports (including softball) don’t have nearly as much money to spend on scholarships as everyone thinks. While the money sports like football and basketball have tons of money to spend, sports like softball are challenged to try to make the money go as far as they can.
Here’s a quote from one college baseball coach:
“It’s like we have a salary cap from the professional sports model,” said Godri, whose baseball program can dole out the equivalent of six full scholarships across four years. “Except we’re dealing in thousands, not millions, and we have to stretch it across 25 or 30 kids.”
Imagine that. Six full scholarships across four years being stretched across 25 to 30 kids. That’s not a lot of money available. Sure, some schools have bigger softball budgets, but they also have their picks of the talent available too. From the article, it looks like there’s not that much money available in most schools. That lines up with what I’ve read and heard from college coaches, who talk about splitting scholarships.
What does that mean to the average softball parent? For one thing, if you’re paying for lessons in the belief that your investment will cover your daughter’s college expenses you could be in for a surprise. Even if she gets an athletic scholarship it may not be enough to cover the difference, say, between a private and a state school. The truth is, if you’re looking for college money you’d be a lot better off investing the money in savings bonds. Or maybe Lottery tickets.
A better reason to invest in lessons is to help your daughter maximize her potential and have the best possible experience she can have. Success tends to breed success as they say, and being successful on the softball field can lead to success in other parts of life. It will also give her great memories that will last for years.
All is not lost in the college department, however. While you may not get all the money you hoped for, being an athlete can help you get into the college of your choice. Assuming you have the grades, if the softball coach wants you at the school he/she will walk your application in to the admissions department. He/she may also be able to help you get grants, academic scholarships, and other assistance.
The point is don’t count on scholarships. Look on them more as found money. Instead, invest in your daughter for her own sake. It will pay off for sure.