Take the scholarship or decide to walk on in the athletic recruiting process – Part Two

I recently had the chance to email with a parent who has a son with this current dilemma.  The son has been offered a preferred walk-on spot at a Division I-A (BCS) school that is close to home.  The program has not had a great deal of success over the long term so there is always the opportunity to step up, play, and eventually earn a scholarship.  But with Division II offers on the table and the potential from Division I-AA (FCS) programs to offer a scholarship it is a tough decision.

This article will be the second piece of two that breaks down the pros and cons of taking a scholarship at a smaller school versus going to the bigger program and walking on.  This second article will focus strictly on why taking the walk-on offer should be the decision that is made.  In this situation, there is no right or wrong but we will provide information and insight on both.  Click here to read the first article (although the order of the articles really doesn’t matter much).

So why should an athlete pass up scholarship money?  The first reason may be that they have dreamed of playing college football at the highest level possible.  You may have spent the last ten years of your life watching State University hoping and dreaming that you may eventually get the potential to play for them.  With their full amount of scholarships already being spoken for, your only chance is to take the walk-on spot at the school has to offer.

This walk-on spot may not be a scholarship but Division I-A (BCS) college coaches do not go throwing around these walk-on spots.  They have to be earned and you must show the college coaches either at camp or on video that you can play.  While these coaches are not promising you anything, they do feel that at the very least you can help the team improve as a practice player.  From there, you may see time on special teams and hope that you could break the lineup as you get older.

Again, there is no promise of playing time but you will get to live the dream.  You may have spent your childhood wondering what it would be like playing for State University and now the opportunity is in front of you.  Your name will be on the roster, you will get a jersey, and even more important is the fact that you may eventually get to play as yourself in an updated video game.

There is no doubt that you are taking a chance but this is something you have full control over.  You are basically betting on yourself that you have the ability to eventually make your way up the depth chart, get playing time, and earn a scholarship offer.  It will be up to you to decide if you want to have fun with friends on weekends or be so dedicated that you skip the parties and instead go for a run.  The amount of time and hard work that you will have to put in is not easy.

You will also have to be lucky during those years that you have in college.  Your body must hold up and be able to avoid injuries that could set you back and hurt the eventual quest for a scholarship offer.  But if you can do it, this will be a story you can pass on for the rest of your life how you beat the odds and were able to play at State University.  Again, this won’t be easy but you are beating that you have the ability to eventually see the field at a school you may have dreamed of playing for.  Is that worth passing up a scholarship offer?

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