Category Archives: High-School

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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Athletes and Social Networking

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Myspace are all social networks that athletes use to catch up with friends and family, or vent frustration. And then you have the few athletes that use it as a way to get scholarships. Having said that, social media has become a huge problem for athletes. The professionals, college level and high school level have all had athletes that got in trouble because of what they posted on social networks.

When pro athletes tweet negatively or post disturbing images on any social networking site, ESPN and other places that represent athletes jump all over it. Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas got suspended for using his fingers as pistols in photos and tweeting about an incident that involved him and one of his teammates having a gun fight. As a result the NBA investigated what was going on with him and ultimately suspended him from the league. In cases like these, ESPN and other sports networks bash the athletes and have different articles and segments regarding their actions and social media in general. The NFL, NBA and other professional sports leagues have a rule stating that players can’t tweet 45 minutes before a game, during a game or during media sessions. And if an athlete breaks that rule they get fined by their respective league.

At the college level, social networking can still be detrimental to the athletes’ potential professional career. Every top notch college athlete has coaches, scouts and businesses watching them. For reasons like this, most college athletic programs have rules against the use of social media. Back in 2009, ex-Texas Tech coach Mike Leach banned social media after one of his players went to Twitter to voice his displeasure about something the coach did. It caused a lot of distractions and put the whole organization under the spotlight.

Most programs think that athletes get enough attention as it is and that they shouldn’t be trying to garner more. Even at the high school level there is a restraint on what you can and can’t say. In the past couple of years there have been cases where high school athletes lose their scholarships because of how they conduct themselves on social media. In 2012, high school star Yuri Wright, from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey N.J. , got expelled from school and lost his scholarship because of sexual and racist tweets. This is a prime example of why high school athletes must pay attention to what they say or do on social media.

Social media has become a part of athletes’ everyday lives. Having said that, all athletes should be aware of all the negative things social networking can do. All it takes is one careless moment where an athlete does or posts something inappropriate online. That one moment could be the deciding factor in whether or not an athletic career continues going or come to an abrupt stop.