Recently, there has been a lot of sports talk banter, as well as texting, tweeting and blogging, about the preferred value that major college football coaches place on the multi-sport high school athletes during the recruiting process.
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer tweeted that 42 of his first 47 signed recruits at OSU were multi-sport high school athletes. Utah’s football coaching staff followed with a report that 37 of 47 players on their two-deep roster last season played at least two sports in high school. Other programs have produced similar statistics.
College coaches from coast to coast report a preference for high school athletes who have competed in multiple seasons and who have developed, for example, greater quickness and agility during wrestling or basketball season, or better speed during track season.
Against these preferences are the pressures of youth sports organizations which program year-round as well as the misguided impressions of parents who believe single-sport focus is essential to obtaining a college athletic scholarship. Escalating college costs add fuel. And sometimes nonfaculty high school coaches who are hired for a single sport overemphasize the single-sport experience in students’ lives.
Those who lead school sports know the score – the foolishness of chasing college financial aid on the playing field. The chances of getting any financial aid based on participation in a single sport – much less a full “scholarship” – are extremely low. It’s closer to a gamble than a good investment.
As is the case with so much in life, good balance is best.