So, Your Teen Wants to Play Sports in College?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 6/3/2019

Your high school football player is pretty good, and he has dreams of playing Division 1 football on a full scholarship. It could happen, right?

The reality is that the odds are very slim. According to the NCAA, there are over a million high school football players in the U.S. Only 7.1% will play in college, and only 2.8 % will go Division 1.

While it’s unrealistic for the vast majority of student athletes to expect a sport will fund their entire college education, there is plenty of opportunity to play a beloved sport at the college level. Here’s advice for teenagers who want to stay in the game in college.

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Face the Facts. Ask your athlete: why does he want to play in college? Hopefully it is for the love the game, but for some it may be the scholarship or the prestige of playing for a big school.

If Division 1 is not an option - D1 is for the most elite players - and he still wants to play, it’s possible. There may be some college, somewhere that would love to have him or her. Parents of athletes should research the options and be realistic about them.

Our son thought he was going to be the next Dan Marino. We let it play out. At some point, he realized that Division 1 was not going to happen for him. But that didn’t stop him from wanting to play college ball. He ended up at a Division 3 school in a solid program that helped him continue to grow in character.

Look for Other Options. There are hundreds of Division II and Division III schools with great athletic programs where your child can be challenged, stretched, and pushed. Everyone tends to focus on D1, but there are lots of great opportunities at other levels.

Do your homework. It may take some work to find the right college fit. If your child wants to play in college and is not being recruited, then it may be up to you and your child to market him. That includes emails and videos to coaches, as well as, attending showcases and clinics. Your athlete should let the coaches know why they want to play.

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You can do this on your own. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a recruiting service. For us, that was a total waste of money.

It’s important to know enough about the school and the program to determine if it is a good fit for your athlete. Not every school is a good fit for every student. So with your athlete, do the research and take your time collectively when deciding on participating in sports at the next level.

Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at