The Student News Site of Wilde Lake High School

The Paw Print

The Student News Site of Wilde Lake High School

The Paw Print

The Student News Site of Wilde Lake High School

The Paw Print

The On and Off-Field Struggles of the Athletic Scholarship

Playing The Numbers Game

Senior Nick Wright wants to become a professional baseball player. But before that happens, Wright is counting on an athletic scholarship to get him onto a college’s varsity team. Between competition from other students and the time constraints involved in recruitment, Wright, who plays shortstop and bats .375, faces many obstacles.

“Baseball scholarships are rarer than archery scholarships,” joked Wright. According to the College Scholarships Foundation, each Division 1 school can give out 11.7 baseball scholarships and Division 2 schools can each give out 9. “There is a lot of competition . . . People have told me I need a more realistic goal, but baseball is serious for me.”

Tyler Silberberg, senior, also struggled with scholarship scarcity before Towson University offered him a fifty percent scholarship to play on their golf team. Silberberg won the state individual golf championship and was awarded first team All-Met last year.

“Most golf teams in college have only four and a half scholarships for ten guys, so most get partial scholarships,” said Silberberg. “It was tough to find a coach who had a spot available.”

Rising Tuition Drives Up Competition

The combined cost of tuition and room and boardrose 42 percent at public institutions and 31 percent at private institutions between 2000 and 2011, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

For Senior Emma Hughes, this increase means more pressure to earn an athletic scholarship. “My parents want me to get a scholarship to help pay for tuition, but trying to get an athletic scholarship is more competitive now because college is more expensive,” said Hughes.

But Maria Pascale, also a senior, believes that the chances of earning money towards tuition are too slim. Pascale made the All-County girls’ soccer team for the fall 2012 season and is pursuing only merit scholarships.

According to Pascale, “I think sports can help in getting in to college, but it is hard to get a lot of money from athletics. This is especially true for sports that don’t get a lot of spectators.”

Networking Skills or Athletic Ability?

Skill and hard work are not the only factors that affect an athlete’s likelihood of receiving an athletic scholarship, according to Hughes. She believes that having a connection to a college team’s players or coaches is equally, if not more, important than athletic ability.

“I talked to one of the Wilde Lake track coaches who went to Mount Saint Mary’s and he put in a good word for me with the school’s coach,” said Hughes. “I’m lucky. I know a lot of very talented athletes who won’t get scholarTheships because they don’t know the right people.”

Silberberg, however, does not want to downplay the importance of talent and individual effort.

According to Silberberg, “You definitely need to have skill and work hard. It is easy to get in contact with coaches through email or any number of methods of communication.”

Advertising and Networking

Student athletes have multiple methods of pursuing an athletic scholarship. Recruitment tournaments, according to Wright and Silberberg, are the best method of networking with college coaches.

Wright believes that the most important aspect of the tournaments is that they allow him to interact with coaches outside of his immediate area. His tournaments take him across the Mid-Atlantic and allow him to connect with coaches he would not have otherwise met.

According to Silberberg, though, the tournaments are essential because college coaches do not put a lot of consideration into high school golf scores and achievements.

“For golf, coaches only look at individual tournaments . . . It’s stressful because you have a limited number of opportunities to show your game,” said Silberberg.

Recruitment tournaments are not the only way for students to gain an edge in the athletic scholarship search. Students can also post an athletic profile on a recruitmentwebsite. But according to Hughes, who has one such profile, the websites allow for athletes to lie about their abilities and achievements.

“I could be a poor athlete and they wouldn’t be able to tell from my profile,” said Hughes.

Students wishing to bypass the recruiting websites can also contact coaches directly. Coaches’ emails can often be found on their college’s website.

Making Sacrifices After Making the Team

Earning the scholarship, through whichever method students choose, is just the beginning. The time commitment for actually playing on a college varsity team is huge, according to Wright.

“It would be my entire life. I would spend every moment of every day focused on baseball,” said Wright.

Pascale cites the time commitment as one of the main reasons she wants a merit, rather than an athletic, scholarship.

“Considering how playing on a college team would affect my schoolwork, I think it is smart to focus on academics rather than soccer because I can’t make a career out of soccer.”

Although Pascale does not want an athletic scholarship, other students every year partake in the battle. The competition is fierce, but the opportunity to lessen the burden of college and further their athletic ambitions proves too tempting for student athletes time and time again.

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The Student News Site of Wilde Lake High School
The On and Off-Field Struggles of the Athletic Scholarship