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Bill 1 Amanda Bill Professor Rand English 1103 6 November 2013 From High School Recruits to College Athletes

As a high school athlete, the best compliment comes in the form of a letter and number: D1. D1, in short, refers to having sufficient talent to continue ones athletic career in the highest league of competition at the collegiate level. It is frequently speculated that every athlete has the ultimate goal of obtaining this title and playing as a collegiate scholarship athlete, which is a difficult task on its own. Recently, however, a vast number of athletes are forfeiting their college scholarships, with reasons ranging from lack of passion to schedule constraints (Bowen and Levin 98). So why do high school athletes have a hard time adjusting to college athletics, and why are athletes giving up opportunities created by years of work and development? These questions blazed within as I sought to uncover the true transition student athletes must make from high school to college, and the ultimate influences and effects that this transition has on the millions of athletes across the nation. Generally, minute attention goes to the transition that a high school athlete must tackle in order to become a collegiate athlete. This lack of attention, and widespread ignorance of the duties and responsibilities of a college athlete, has sparked the trend of athletic attrition: the decision of an athlete to not participate in college sports, including those who quit after one or two years of playing. One common reason for attrition is that high school athletes cannot adjust to the college athlete lifestyle, which then draws their

Bill 2 attention to other clubs and programs less constraining and more entertaining (Bowen and Levin 99). Others, after suffering from burn-out by playing a certain sport all year for many years, simply lose their love of the game, (Bowen and Levin 99). Lack of preparation and apathy are the two crucial forces causing athletes to either disregard college athletics completely or choose not to return after the first couple of years. So just how many athletes are falling victim to these feelings of attrition? A range from ten to twenty-five percent of recruited athletes decide not to play, while only fewer than half of college athletes play all four years of competition (Bowen and Levin 101). This commitment of four years slims at higher-level institutions; Ivy League coaches should expect less than three years of play from a recruited athlete, (Bowen and Levin 99). This attrition epidemic is blind to race, gender, sport, or academic achievement, reaching out and touching numerous athletes of various backgrounds. In order to understand where these figures come from, and the ways to stop this increasing epidemic, it is essential to analyze how athletes progress and develop from high school to college. Specifically, one must understand the drastic changes that athletes face when transitioning from high school to college. The changes that athletes face occur most dramatically in competition, scheduling, and academics. Competition in athletics, especially at the division one level, boasts the most drastic change from high school to college. Competition starts from within a team and moves outwardly to opponents. Within a team, players compete for playing time and scholarships. College athletes are the best of their area, often having all-state or allconference recognition in high school, which makes playing time and even a position on the team harder to attain. Alexis Kaufasi stated, In high school, I didn't have to try hard

Bill 3 to be the best. It doesn't work that way in college, (Lloyd). The competition amongst teammates and future recruits is also a driving factor in constant individual achievement and strengthening. I saw seniors get their scholarships dropped because newer, better freshmen came in. The competition is often tougher among the team than against the opponents, said Douglas Howard, a former wrestler at Appalachian State. The pressure to be of enough value to keep a scholarship and earn playing time is always a weight on a college athletes shoulders, which varies from high school. Yes, high school athletes fight for playing time and positions, but they do not risk losing monetary funding when new players come in. The most distinguished athletes play at collegiate levels, putting more focus on competition and risk rather than comfort and fun. In discussing competition, it is also vital to note that overall competition of opponents changes too. Higher-level teams have the best of a respective county, state, and even country. As Kaufasi said, The game is so much faster here. Everyone jumps as high as you do and just about everyone is stronger than you are, (Lloyd). Rather than playing against the best teams in the county like in high school, collegiate teams play against the best teams across the nation. With this increased competition comes the added effort of being successful and beating a respected opponent; the level of expectation and commitment to athletic success increases drastically, as an athlete is paid by grants and scholarships to perform. College athletes, unlike high school athletes, play teams packed with the cream of the crop rather than teams with one or two decent players. As a result of this competition, most college athletes put athletic performance in the drivers seat and academics in the rearview mirror.

Bill 4 Ironically, while academics are seemingly given less attention in college, higherlevel education is tougher and laborious than high school education. Athletes that do not focus on their studies will find themselves behind in college setting, whereas high school athletes are often able to progress through guidance and counseling. When asked about his college experience, Richard Crawford, a basketball player for UNC Charlotte, said I can tell you that it is way tougher than high school because the work gets harder. Its all about time management. Athletes that slipped through the cracks in high school have a hard time adjusting to the heavier standards placed on assignments, quizzes, and tests. As Crawford stated, I was more prepared because my high school stressed a lot over grades and getting into the books. Academic standards are much greater in college, as athletes are frequently put on academic probation and even lose scholarships due to inadequate intellectual performance. The stakes in school itself are higher and require more devotion than classes in high school. College athletes must be able to make school a priority while balancing competitive performance in their respective sport. Such a balance has a tremendous effect on the schedule of a college athlete. Scheduling is also an area that differs in athletics from high school to college. While both high school and college athletes have structured schedules, the two vary on a daily scale. High school athletes have a set schedule, consisting of class all day and then practice after school. College, however, presents some variance in class times. Marissa Candle, a softball player at UNC Charlotte, describes her schedule as the day usually starts out with a six in the morning lift, then classes ranging from eight to two, and then practice later on in the day, which may range anywhere from one to four hours. The days are longer for a college athlete, but often feature less classroom time and more focus

Bill 5 on athletics. Thus, college athletes schedules are centered around athletics, while high school schedules are centered around school. This transition not only heightens the desire to increase performance, but also places more emphasis on individual learning. To combat this, many colleges have required study halls, sessions, and tutoring that are much more involved than high school. Scheduling in college is very different than high school, especially when travel is a significant factor. Another difference between high school and college athletics related to scheduling is travel time. Often, in high school, schools travel no further than a couple hours for games, if that. In college, however, schools in North Carolina may play at schools in California. Missing classes for a couple days can potentially leave an athlete behind. As Candle said, Traveling can make it hard to learn material and keep up with studies. Bigger teams like Duke, UNC, and Louisville must complete a large amount of work online while they travel to different locations during March Madness (Bowen and Levin 212). While more traveling may seem appealing to an athlete, the constant movement and distance may have an adversary effect on classroom participation and achievement. Being able to adjust to this type of travel and scheduling is a vital skill that high school athletes must develop in college to be successful. So what links these differences from high school sports to college athletics to this previously mentioned athletic attrition? Analyzing the differences between high school and college sports only touches the surface of this overlooked problem existing in almost half of the present and future college athletes in the nation. Further studies should encompass the roles that recruiting and coaching have on athletes experiencing such a difficult time playing a sport in college and sticking with the sport for all four years.

Bill 6 In examining college athletes, it is only fair to evaluate the influence that recruiting has on this growing feeling of athletic attrition. Two aspects of recruiting seem to have much effect on college recruits: academic lenience and the intensity of recruitment. As mentioned before, some high school athletes have a hard time adjusting to the higher standards placed on education in college. This problem traces back to high school recruitment, as focus on athletic ability has become so vigorous that very little consideration is placed on education values and achievement (Bowen and Levin 44). If recruiters focused on athletic ability and education equally, this academic lenience would disappear and high school athletes may be better prepared academically for college. The other issue of recruiting is that everything is happening sooner, (Bowen and Levin 47). Increased athlete specialization has athletes playing the same sport and year-round for fourteen to fifteen years. This lengthened time of recruitment is linked to burnout, in which athletes decided not to play their sport; the athlete loses passion (Bowen and Levin 99). If athletes were not pressured from young ages to pursue a college scholarship, the enormous load they bear on their shoulders would be lessoned and playing the game would be fun rather than a commitment to collegiate participation and development. In this way, analyzing recruitment and its growing intensity is vital when discussing athlete attrition in collegiate sports.

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