“Dear Parent, Your son will not play in the NFL.”
By Jack Travers
Anyone involved with youth sports can attest to the sometimes unrealistic aspirations of both athletes and their parents. When a high school athlete reaches his/her Junior year, this tendency can have far reaching negative implications.
For a high school football player, his Junior season, and, particularly, his performance at the various camps during the summer before his Senior year, provide extremely important indicators as to a) whether he’ll play football in college and b) what level of college football he’ll play.
This is where mature, realistic expectations and perspective from the player, his parents, and coach are essential to the young man’s well being. According to the NCAA, .008% of high school players eventually play in the National Football League. Therefore, if your son is one of the few who will actually play college football (7.8%, according to scholarshipstats.com), college selection should be made on a number of factors, with football only one of the many variables impacting the ultimate choice.
The athlete must be aware that college football, particularly at the collegiate scholarship level, is markedly different than the high school experience. While the demands placed on high school football players have intensified in the last 15-20 years, there is simply no way to replicate the all encompassing nature of the life of the college football student/athlete. Is your son ready for that? His college experience will be extremely regimented, focused, and consumed by football. You won’t see him much, either.
Of course, attending a scholarship program also means that your son will both be playing at an extremely high level of football, and will receive a free college education (and maybe even garner a Masters Degree out of the process). Again, very important factors to weigh on the balance sheet.
If your son is good, wants to play in college, but not fast or big enough to compete at that elite level, there are still attractive options. In fact, football just may enhance his chances of getting into a school that otherwise he may not academically qualify. From my school (Boston College High School), we have sent numerous players to some of the finest colleges in the nation. Their ability to play football (along with their academic excellence and personal integrity) added greatly to their application, and compensated for a relatively lower grade point average or SAT scores. Good football is played in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), for example, and the sport is kept in perspective. Players must commit themselves significantly to the football program, but they also are given the latitude to be college students first and foremost. After four
Writer Name : Jack Travers
Writer Bio : Jack Travers, a social studies teacher and longtime football coach at Boston College High School, lives with his family in Lynn, Massachusetts. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master in Arts and Teaching from Boston College and a J.D. from the New England School of Law. As a native of Greater Boston and a twenty eight veteran of the classroom, Jack is thoroughly familiar with the themes that permeate his young adult novel, "Team Player."