Why college athletes fail

Learn some of the common mistakes colleges athletes make that hurt their college career

The NCAA graduation rate for athletic scholarship student-athletes (any amount of money received) that graduate from the college they enroll in full time as freshman is roughly 60% within 6 years of enrollment. This means that 40% of all college athletes receiving scholarship money, transfer, leave their school, or do not graduate within 6 years. Here are some of the reasons…

  • Student-athletes choose the wrong school socially for them. Some schools are too big, other are too small. Some schools are too far away from home, others are too close. Some schools have a diverse student-body, others have students that are all the same. Some schools are in big cities, others are in the middle of nowhere. Some schools don’t have enough activities outside of school to do.
  • Student-athletes choose the wrong school academically. Perhaps the school was too difficult with many required courses that were simply too hard or demanded too much time. While athletics can compound this problem, there are many majors that simply are not for “everybody,” whether you are an athlete or a regular student. Many engineering, chemistry or physics programs require long hours in the classroom as well as labs that student-athletes simply cannot miss.
  • Student-athletes choose the wrong coach. Many student-athletes land on a team with a college coach they just don’t mesh with personally and small conflicts of interest turn into bigger problems regarding playing time or attitude.
  • Student-athletes choose the wrong playing style. Many football and basketball players complain that the team and coach does not run the type of offense they are used to or the type of offense they can excel in and use their athletic talents better.
  • Student-athletes lose interest. Playing college athletics sounds great, but waking up at 6AM and running every day, going to class for 4 hours, going back to practice, and then lifting weights later at night is a serious commitment in time and effort and is not for everybody. You must be extremely passionate about your sport to play in college at any level and must be prepared to play that sport in the fall, winter and spring…
  • Student-athletes lose their financial aid. Financial Aid is reviewed each year and can often fluctuate without notice or warning from year to year. One year you could be getting $10,000, the next year you may only qualify for only $4,000. Athletic scholarship money is also evaluated year-to-year. At the coach’s discretion, he/she can remove your aid, reduce your aid, or increase your aid from year-to-year.
  • Student-athletes get injured. Many careers have been cut short by serious injuries. When athletes get injured and cannot play, many become depressed and instead of focusing on their studies with the additional free time they have, they do very little of anything.
  • Student-athletes don’t take their academic studies seriously. Many student-athletes are not student-athletes, but rather athletes who are inconvenienced by going to classes. If you are not committed academically to a school, you will not succeed. The whole point of college is to get an education, so you need to focus your energy on your studies first.Student-athletes don’t realize the time and effort commitment that they are getting involved in and the sacrifices they are going to make. After classes and practices, you are left with very little free time to do school work and be social with your friends.
  • Student-athletes don’t handle coaching well. There have been many talented high school players who didn’t receive any coaching in high school. When they get college they often receive more coaching and more discipline than they are used to. Players often interpret this increased attention and instruction as negative, thus leading to conflicts with the coaching staff.
  • Student-athletes sign with the wrong program. Many student-athletes select programs because they think it is the “best” program and they have little regard for how many current players are on the team or how many other players the coach has signed or is recruiting.
  • Student-athletes don’t communicate with their coach effectively and rather than asking what they need to work on to get more playing time, they take their lack of playing time personally and they start to complain or distance themselves from the team and coach and simply go through the motions not expecting to play much.