Is Going Pro Worth It?

     Disclaimer: This article is written as food for thought, and not meant to shoot down anyone’s dreams. However, please keep an open mind when reading.

Athletes across the country work hard in perfecting their sport of choice, and many are forced to partake in sports because it’s their only chance of getting out of the tough lives they live. However, some athletes play sports to follow a false dream of making it big and making “tons of money.” I’ll break down these true statistics, so that a reader could possibly change their mind and do something different where there’s a near 100% chance of succeeding.

Let’s start with the most popular sport in the United States, football. As of 2014, there were 1,122,000 high school football players across the country. During the 2014 season, there were 90,136 NCAA football players across all divisions (D1, D2, D3, JuCo, etc.). Using these numbers, you can hypothesize that 8% of high school football players go on to play in college. We can be lenient with these numbers considering that many athletes play for fun, but given all adjustments, the percentage never reaches above 10%. For these college players to go pro, those chances dip to 1%. Yes 1%. So by using basic statistics, the chances of going all the way from high school to the NFL is .08%, or 8 out of 1000 players. Pretty low odds considering so many high schoolers have these outlandish dreams of going pro. However, the worst has yet to come. As hard as it may believe, but this isn’t even the hardest sport to make it big in.

Next, we’ll break down the statistics for the internationally growing sport of basketball. With 541,000 estimated high school basketball players and only 32,190 college basketball players, 6% of players continue their career to that second level. However, here’s the difference between football and basketball. There’s an ever-growing number of international players coming to the United States and taking places on many teams. There aren’t any exact numbers for the amount of players, but it should still be understood that the competition is growing; which is a good thing for the sport. Now, to get to the NBA it’s near impossible. With only 439 total NBA players, the percent chances of getting to the NBA from college is 1.3%. But one key fact is that most of those roster spots are taken. There’s an average of 5 spots per team, so there’s truly 150 spots. This takes the percent of going from college to the NBA down to .4%. Once again, using statistics the chance of going from high school to the NBA is .02%. To make that easier to grasp, only 2 out of 1000 players will have a CHANCE of making it. There are some other underlying issues hurting athletes as a whole.

To be honest, too many athletes put all their fruit into one basket. So many players get the great opportunity of getting to college to play the sport they love, but neglect their future. A whopping 51% of college athletes major in General Studies. Which in the real world equates to nothing. So, if a player doesn’t make it pro, then what are they supposed to do? Well the answer is simple. Nothing. There’s nothing they can do because their time in college was wasted going after the pros, rather than getting a good major and preparing for the future. Here’s an idea. Many of these athletes have great personalities, are fun to be around and enjoy sports, so why not major in journalism. As proven by the late Stuart Scott, players and fans alike love when sports journalists have a little “swagger” which makes the typical interview entertaining. I personally am tired of seeing the same old personalities on many sport broadcasts (especially ESPN and FOX), so why not get some more relatable faces on the air and help some young kids out. Just an idea.

 

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