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A Tale From the Recruiting Roulette Wheel

June 19, 2014    5609 Views

By Brian Logue

A Tale From the Recruiting Roulette Wheel

Jim Cowsert

I’ve been proud to work for US Lacrosse for nearly 14 years and my connection to lacrosse goes back to the early 1990s when I was working at Washington and Lee University and got hooked on the sport. Despite early exposure to lacrosse, my son chose baseball over lacrosse as his main sport and has had a lot of fun and success playing it—just finishing his sophomore year of high school.

Since his T-ball days, he’s probably played close to 500 games and we’ve spent thousands of dollars on team dues, equipment, camps, tournament fees, hotels, gas and other expenses.

Sound familiar?

A couple of nights ago, I entered new territory. I signed my son up for a camp that highlighted the college coaches that will be a part of the staff and/or coming to the event. It’s the first time I’ve spent a single dollar that was targeted towards any dream or hope of him playing college baseball.

The reality is I’m not even sure he wants to play college baseball. He hasn’t even made up his mind of what type of school he’s interested in attending, much less what he wants to study or whether he’s ready to commit to trying to play at that level.

But it’s at least in the back of his mind that maybe he’s interested, and we decided that this camp made sense to at least take a look at the environment out there in case he does try to pursue this option.

I harbor no fantasy of baseball helping to pay his way for college, or even that it will help him get into a better school. My only interest is: Is this something that would enrich his college experience if he found the right fit?

So, I’ve spent my first dollars towards the dream of college athletics, but I think I’ve done it with a clear head and a full understanding of what to expect and what not to expect. I’m not making an investment. I’m essentially standing at the roulette wheel and putting my money on green. It’s a long shot, but I’m not spending any money I can’t afford to lose. Maybe it will hit and he’ll get some reward out of it, but if not, I really haven’t really risked anything.

As we’re now in the midst of summer tournament season for lacrosse, I encourage lacrosse parents to think in that mindset. There is a ton of money being spent on travel teams and tournaments and it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy. Do your best to avoid that frenzy and make informed decisions.

Less than 15 percent of all high school lacrosse players will play any level of college lacrosse (including club), and far fewer will receive any kind of financial assistance due to their athletic ability. It’s easy to hear the chatter on the sidelines about this kid getting this or that kid getting that. Don’t believe all of those conversations. Parents like to brag, and saying that your kid got a scholarship seems to be near the top of list for proud parents. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people tell me that someone got an athletic scholarship to play a sport at a NCAA Division III school. That simply isn’t true. NCAA Division III schools are not allowed to award aid based on athletic ability.

And even the very best players that receive athletic scholarships at the NCAA Division I and II levels are almost always only having a small portion of their college expenses covered. Unlike sports like football and basketball, where a scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, athletic scholarships in lacrosse and many others sports are split among large roster sizes.

US Lacrosse has a great resource in our Recruiting Guidebooks that help shed further light on the realities of trying to play lacrosse in college. I encourage you to read them and arm yourself with knowledge to make the best decisions for your family.

Brian Logue is the director of communications at US Lacrosse. Suggest blog topics for lacrosse parents in the comments section.

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