| March 22, 2018

Column: Student before athlete

February 14, 2018

Sports impact the life of many children, teens and young adults in schools around the nation.

Most individuals start the sports they love at a young age. Middle schools everywhere encourage these children to engage in sports like football and soccer for many beneficial reasons.

In high school, the encouragement continued, and throughout the next four years of their lives, many of these young athletes gravitated toward the sport they are the most passionate for.

As the golden high school years come to an end, these young adults have to start thinking about pursuing a possible spot on a college level team.

Here at the University of Idaho we are a part of the NCAA. This means the probability of a high school student going to a school at this level on a scholarship is roughly around two percent. According to CBS, the scholarships these athletes are likely to receive are less than $11,000.

This is astonishing considering the number of students that play sports in high school was approximately 7.6 million during the 2010-2011 school year, according to an article from U.S. News. This accounts for about 55.5 percent of all high school students.

These statics vary on the sport the athlete is participating in as well.

Basketball has around 546,428 participants at the high school level while a surpassingly low 3.4 percent move on to the college level.

Football has the most dramatic statistics. Just about 1,083,308 young athletes participate in this sport during the high school, and only 6.8 percent of them will find themselves on a college turf continuing their dreams.

This probability continues to get smaller as these few college students try and become professional athletes.

According to the NCAA, the number of individuals that play college baseball is around 7,679. Approximately 695 of those players are drafted into the MLB.

Around 5,512 men’s soccer players play at the college level and only around 75 are drafted into the MLS.

For men’s basketball, the odds are even more slim. Around 4,152 individuals play at the college level while only 44 are drafted into the NBA each year.

Football statistics end up having the most drastic difference. With college football having an enormous fan base, there is around 16,369 athletes competing in conferences around the United States. However, only 251 are drafted into the NFL.

These statistics may seem discouraging but many athletes who wish to play at the professional or college level use their slim odds as motivation to push themselves to be the best athlete possible.

At the University of Idaho, we have full rosters in sports such as men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football. I challenge everyone to consider these statistics while cheering on the athletes around campus that wear our black and gold on the court, field and turf, who are striving to achieve their goals.

Marisa Lloyd can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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