After having a great Junior year, a high school athlete I know is thrilled by the fact that he is being recruited by Michigan, Illinois and Oklahoma to name just a few. Although quite a few Universities are interested in this young man, none of them have offered him any scholarship money as of yet. In fact all of the programs are saying to him that he is only good enough to be a walk-on.
These days collegiate sports have become big business. Some Universities make millions of dollars on their athletic programs not to mention the benefits of marketing publicity a competitive athletic program offers. The bottom line is that schools are highly motivated to get the best athletes to sign on the dotted line. The top tier athletes, the high school superstar benefits from this as he /she will have their entire education paid for. However because the Universities are willing to roll out the red carpet for the top tier athletes, the 2nd and 3rd level athletes are left to fight and scrap for whatever scholarship money might be leftover.
With all of this mind, these are some suggestions I give to athletes who are not being offered the full ride scholarship.
Ask the coach for specifics on what it will take to be a scholarship athlete: A good way to do this is use this exact question when speaking to the coach; “Coach, what would it take on my part to make you feel great about offering me a scholarship?”. This is a good question whether you are being recruited or even if you are currently on a collegiate team as a non-scholarship player. The more detailed you can get the coach to be the better.
Get some leverage: Try and get at least one school to offer you some scholarship money. Even if it’s not a big conference school offering the scholarship it’s important because you can then use it to generate more interest from other schools. Remember this is business and if you can get school X to offer you something it increases the motivation for other schools to offer you something as you have made them realize they may not be able to get you for free. You could say something like “Coach, I’m really interested in coming to your school, you know I’m being recruited by other schools and a few of the others have even offered scholarship money, what would it take for you to feel good about finding some scholarship money for me?”.
In your quest to play collegiate sports, remember to always be respectful and without a doubt the number one thing you can do to increase your worth to potential college suitors is to work hard in training and competition. Giving your best effort in practices both mentally and physically (follow the MP100+20 concept in Chapter 8 of my book) will go a long ways toward getting positive attention and results.