Raleigh, North Carolina – For many parents and children, the dream of playing sports at the college level and even among the pros starts early.
Junior High School Blayne Talley played softball for 10 years. Nine years for the second year of high school Aubrey Fulcher. Eight years for rookie Nahla Bigham.
All three are part of a competitive travel softball league, which is separate from school sports. It’s one of the many club sports that help players hone their skills, but it can get expensive.
Mom Kim Warren went through the expense list with 5 On Your Side’s Monica Laliberte. Warren mentioned the travel, including airline tickets, accommodation and tournament fees. Warren estimates that they spent around $ 10,000 or more on the sport.
Mom Heather Coleman said thousands of dollars have been spent by her family over the years. “Your club fees, your private lessons… your equipment. They break a few bats, so we are constantly knocking them over,” she said.
Considering what some spend, it might not be surprising that 79% of parents surveyed by Loan tree, say they took on debt to pay for their child’s expenses.
The most telling figure, perhaps, is that 87% of parents who say they believe this is an investment that could potentially pay off with income for their child, say in the form of a scholarship.
“I’m hoping to get a scholarship,” said Morgan Warren, a sophomore. “I think I have a good chance.”
“I think a lot of people mistakenly think that every kid is on a full run who is a varsity athlete – and they aren’t,” said Renee Lopez, a veteran varsity coach and the author of the book “Looking for a Full Ride?”
Lopez’s goal is to educate families that “more money for scholarships will come from college scholarships in most situations.”
The The NCAA says only about 2% of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships to compete in college, and this is often a partial scholarship.
“In women’s football, 14 full scholarships are available at the Division 1 level, which would be spread across the whole team,” Lopez said.
She wants parents to know that skills are important, but so is school.
“If everything is the same your talent level is the same, I have a 3.5 child (GPA) or I have a 2.3 child (GPA), which child will I be looking for? the 3.5 child (GPA), because it translates into so many other areas of their life, ”Lopez said.
Monica asked mom Heather Coleman if she thought about what she would have spent on softball when all is said and done.
“I’ve probably paid for college before,” Coleman said, adding that she thinks it’s worth it because her kid got a lot of things like sportsmanship and driving out of it.
“It makes you want to work harder when you know there is only a small percentage chance you will be successful,” said Morgan Warren, a sophomore.
Student-athletes also develop their self-confidence.
When Monica asked junior Blayne Calley about her skill level, Calley replied “I don’t like to brag, but the stats don’t lie!”