High-school athletes who decide to skip college to become professional athletes may have many different reasons for doing so.
One example is the high-profile draft pick Sebastian Telfair, who was drafted 13 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004.
Despite high draft hype, he struggled as a rookie, scoring 6.8 points per game on only 39 percent shooting from the field.
But his early-career performance made his parents happy.
Should Star Athletes Skip College for the Profession?
Recruiting high-school athletes
If you’re a high school athlete who wants to play college sports, there’s a good chance that you’re interested in becoming a college athlete.
However, many athletes don’t feel comfortable contacting college coaches. Even though there are some blue-chip athletes who approach college coaches on their own, most high school athletes don’t like to make contact.
Most smaller schools don’t have the resources to fly across the country to find qualified players, and rely instead on word-of-mouth recruiting and the contact made by potential athletes.
Generally, high-school athletes can contact college coaches by phone, email, and personal letter starting in their junior year.
They can also contact high-school athletes through social media and electronic messaging. The NCAA has recently changed the rules to allow division 1 coaches to contact high-school athletes via social media and electronic messaging.
However, you should follow NCAA rules to avoid violating these regulations. Recruiting high-school athletes who skip college to become professional athletes is a difficult process.
Some high-school athletes receive early offers because of their talent, size, or athleticism. Whether or not they’re good enough for college is up to them, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a little more push.
Make sure they take the ACT and high school transcripts and monitor their academic and athletic affairs. The more successful your athlete becomes, the more likely you’ll get an early college offer.
Using a recruitment center helps recruiters contact high-school athletes who skip college to become pro. It is important that these athletes register for a college program as soon as possible after they graduate from high school.
The NCAA eligibility center accepts official transcripts, SAT/ACT test results, and final amateurism certification.
Recruiters can contact athletes on a daily basis and can ask for stats, grades, and evaluations. Make it easy for them to get this information.
Many high-school athletes who skip college to become pro athletes have also gone through non-college routes.
One of these has been playing overseas. In 2008, Brandon Jennings became the first American to do so, leaving the U.S. to play professionally in Europe.
Other NBA players have also followed Jennings’ example. However, this method isn’t for everyone. Despite the obvious disadvantages, it may be worth a try for the right player.
Scholarships for high-school athletes who skip colleges to become professional athletes are available for high-level athletic talents. However, these scholarships may not be enough to cover the athlete’s entire cost.
Many athletes secure professional recruiters to help them navigate the college sports marketing process. Athletes can also read up on tips to approach recruiters.
If they are not recruited, they can join the team as a “walk on” and apply for athletic scholarships the following year.
Some sports, such as men’s hockey, award scholarships to athletes of a specific gender.
While the average hockey roster is 28, track teams and lacrosse teams offer 12.6 scholarships each. In baseball, the average roster is 35.
The women’s sports, such as softball, award 12 scholarships for each 30-person roster. Unlike men, women can play sports such as soccer and lacrosse and compete for partial scholarships.
The 10-year scholarship allows student-athletes to pursue a professional sports career while earning a degree.
Those who choose to go straight to the next step can pause their scholarship. They can continue playing for a university or professional team and complete their degree within the same time frame.
Typically, these student-athletes will graduate in five years, which means that their marginal cost is very low to the university.
In addition to full scholarships, athletic scholarship programs also provide financial aid for a student-athlete’s college expenses.
Those who receive partial athletic scholarships must also take out other types of aid, such as student loans or work-study opportunities.
While some of these scholarships cover tuition, room and board, these are rare. A student-athlete should carefully consider the financial and time constraints of their family before committing to high-level athletics.
Athletes who skip college to pursue their dreams of being professional athletes should not overlook the importance of a good education.
Sports are part of the high school experience, and athlete-athletes put in a lot of work. But they should not ignore the financial aspect of their college education.
In fact, these scholarships are some of the most rewarding benefits of the student-athlete experience.
Alternatives to college
While it’s unlikely that most high-school athletes will pursue a career in professional sports, there are several alternatives to college for athletes who wish to pursue that goal.
Most college admissions officers view student-athletes with strong academic records favorably because they show the ability to balance their extracurricular activities with their academics.
They have shown that they thrive under pressure and can excel academically and athletically.
One common mistake made by young athletes is to view a professional athletic career as an achievable goal.
Instead of a college degree, many youths view professional sports as a lifestyle that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. Despite this, these athletes rarely develop alternative plans, and their failure to achieve their dreams only magnifies their negative perceptions of themselves and their future career prospects.
Instead, they should explore alternative options such as teaching, working for an organization, or participating in an extracurricular activity.
A study found that students from wealthy families are more likely to pursue a college athletic career than those from lower-income families.
This could be because wealthy students have better access to sports resources than poorer youths.
Additionally, these student athletes are more likely to attend a college and expect to continue their education. This could be a huge setback to aspiring professional athletes. However, alternative college options exist.
Another option for high-school athletes who want to pursue their sports careers after graduation is to attend a sports-focused school.
These schools offer flexibility to focus on both academics and physical training. These sports-focused schools vary in both curriculum and structure.
Many sports-focused schools offer both day and boarding schools and are unique in their own right. There are also hybrid sports schools that blend physical education with digital education, and online platforms.
Problems with endorsement contracts
In recent years, the NBA has become increasingly lenient towards high school athletes with impressive social media followings.
That has led to several problems with endorsement contracts. While some states have banned high school athletes from signing endorsement contracts, others have permitted them to receive money for autographs or holding private camps.
These rules vary from state to state and depend on the affiliation of the athletes with a particular team.
Currently, three states prohibit high school athletes from signing endorsement contracts, but there are signs that some lawmakers in Texas will revisit the ban.
Although these policies have become more liberal, many state athletic associations still prohibit high school athletes from receiving endorsements.
This makes the entire process more complicated and can result in athletes losing their athletic eligibility.
However, some states are taking steps to address this problem by allowing high school athletes to earn endorsements.
The Colorado High School Activities Association is currently considering changes to its rules so that students can earn endorsements.
While many states have laws prohibiting athletes from signing endorsement deals, the NCAA does not. This is partly due to its position as a private organization and therefore is not bound by the First Amendment.
However, public schools and states do. As such, any restrictions on athlete endorsements should be compatible with these freedoms. Three types of restrictions, however, are problematic.
The first prohibits athletes from signing endorsement contracts with “vice industries” and the second bans partnerships with things that reflect poorly on the educational institution.