Yesterday I talked about what type of background work research college coaches do when trying to figure out which athletic recruits that they want to offer a scholarship to. And if there are two players on the fence, the coach is definitely going to offer the one who works the hardest and has the best character.
These coaches are looking for gym rats and weight room warriors who love working out and will inspire teammates to put in extra time (just ask the players at Michigan). But what happens if you are the type of player who goes through the motion and gets by on natural talent? Unfortunately, high school coaches are likely not going to lie to college coaches and make up how hard you work. And if that is the case, this really could cost you over $100,000 during the course of your four or five years in college.
In this hypothetical situation, lets say that you have spent your life dreaming of playing football at Michigan State (yes, Michigan State). You currently live in Ohio but have spent your life growing up and hoping to do everything that you can to play for the Spartans. You have attended their camps, taped their games, and have studied their football recruiting classes for the past decade.
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The good news for you is that you have become quite an athlete as well. You have smaller Division I offers from schools like Kent State, Miami of Ohio, Ball State, and similar programs but your dream is to play at Michigan State. Their coaches have invited you to games, evaluated you at their camp, and continue to call when the rules allow it.
You know that they are taking two recruits at tight end and they already have a commit from one player there. They have another scholarship out to an athlete but he decided to commit to Notre Dame. It is now down to you and one other recruit. The coaches want to secure a commitment from one of you so they do some digging for a week. They watch your full game tapes (to see if you take plays off), attend a workout of yours, and then talk to your high school coach. Michigan State coaches do the exact same thing for the other recruit.
What they find is disappointing. The other recruit works a great deal harder and will likely be a better college player because of this. They offer that recruit and he accepts basically on the spot. Because you have always dreamed of playing college football in Lansing, you decide to eventually take their walk-on offer. So how much would a walk-on from outside of Michigan be paying this year to attend MSU? The total, again, just for this year, would be $27,832. While I believe tuition will go up, if it stays the same, that would be $111,328 for four years. Throw in a fifth year and it would be $139,160.
Again, prices vary in a lot of situations for colleges but if you had worked harder during games and in the off-season, it would have been a no brainer for Michigan State to extend a scholarship your way. But this is how things go in the football recruiting process or athletic recruiting process for that matter. College coaches find little things that end up being the difference between getting a full scholarship and a walk-on offer. It would be tough to be in this situation but it happens all the time.
So even if you are a wide receiver and the ball isn’t coming your way, it is never a good time to take a play off. It is never time to skip a weight lifting session because you want to relax with your girlfriend. Stuff like this happens all the time but in the end it may cost you over $100,000.