AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

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blackwhisker
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AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm

I have a middle school kid who loves playing basketball. I am struggling to figure out how much time and money I should spend to support his basketball activity. AAU team fee and travel expense add up quickly. My time and energy are also limited.

It seems many parents are motivated to spend on youth sports because the possibility of getting a college scholarship. How do I get a rough idea about how likely my kid can get a college scholarship? For example, if a kid is invited to play at the 5th best AAU team in Northern California, does he have ~10% chance to get a basketball scholarship at a D2 college? or does he only have a 2% chance?

Once I heard a mom talking about volleyball. she said something like if kid plays on a high school team that's ranked 50th or higher in California, then the kid might have a good chance to get a scholarship.

Can anyone share information or experience?

Another question I have is how youth sports help one's career directions/options in the long run. My kid might stop playing basketball after high school if he doesn't get to play at college level. How can one find a job in sports-related field if that's what he enjoys? for example, are there stable jobs in sports marketing? Or is it very rare and competitive in those fields?

Thank you!
Last edited by blackwhisker on Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

oldfatguy
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by oldfatguy » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:58 pm

blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm
How do I get a rough idea about how likely my kid can get a college scholarship? For example, if a kid is invited to play at the 5th best AAU team in Northern California, does he have ~10% chance to get a basketball scholarship at a D2 college? or does he only have a 2% chance?
His chance of getting a college basketball scholarship are a small fraction of a percent, no matter what team he plays on.

livesoft
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by livesoft » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:03 pm

I helped coach an AAU boys basketball team. None of the boys on my team went on to play college ball although many of them played on high school teams. I am aware of other players who did get scholarships and played in the WNBA. Note they were all women. My daughter's team played against players like Chiney Ogwumike and Britney Griner. Other members of her team did get D1 and D3 scholarships and some play professionally in Europe.

How do they help one's career? Who knows? My son is an athletic trainer at a junior college, so basketball directly helped his career such as it is. Another player is an assistant coach at college. My daughter was the student manager of her college women's basketball team for a season. In a subsequent season that team went to the women's sweet 16. My daughter is a Professional Engineer.

I know players that have gone on to medical careers, engineering careers, law careers, but also players that work retail at big box sports stores.
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HIMcDunnough
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by HIMcDunnough » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:38 pm

blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm

Another question I have is how youth sports help one's career directions/options in the long run. My kid might stop playing basketball after high school if he doesn't get to play at college level. How can one find a job in sports-related field if that's what he enjoys? for example, are there stable jobs in sports marketing? Or is it very rare and competitive in those fields?
I'll take on this part, since there will soon be a raft of people by shortly to say that any chance at a scholarship is minimal (and the scholarship at lower levels might not be a full ride), and you should only pay for AAU or similar sports if you can afford it and think your child's enjoyment and personal growth from the activity is worth it.

There are numerous non-playing, non-coaching jobs in sports, but like in any industry, it can be competitive depending on the desirability of the job. I have friends who are associate athletic directors of D-1 schools and one that's the president of a major pro sports team--all have law degrees. I also have a family friend who's a scout for an MLB team, but he had to (1) play college baseball at an Ivy League school, and (2) bust his ass working for a small minor league affiliate for years to get there. Another friend does community relations for another MLB team; she similarly worked her way up from crappier promotions jobs for years to get where she is.

Finally, I'm not sure how much this helps with your sports-crazed child, but many sports jobs aren't particularly attractive to those with families. Attending the games each night is often expected, if not compulsory, and the fun of going to a pro game wears off when you're working your 40th of the season. The college associate athletic directors also get sent to remote places where, for example, their softball team is playing some mid-major in February.

stuper1
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by stuper1 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:50 pm

Unless you can see that he is in the top 5 or 10% of players in his league, I would encourage you to try to feed his love for sports with a local league, if you have one, rather than a travel league. Most of the fun is in just being involved, not necessarily being involved at the highest levels. Teach him that life has tradeoffs, money doesn't grow on trees, etc. Just flat out tell him that you can't afford it. That's what I've done with my kids. For most people, they would be much better off saving the money for college, say in a 529, than in paying for travel leagues. Sports is too encouraged in our society. A bit of sports is fine. But life is a lot more than just sports. I don't believe much of the talk about team sports building character, etc. Team sports can also teach a kid a lot of bad things. I know several people who played a lot of team sports who are basically athletic bullies. I wish our society would encourage more lifetime sports, rather than team sports. It's hard to get 10 or 20 people together at the same time when you become an adult. I think parents do their kids a great service in pointing them towards lifetime sports, which can include things like tennis, pickleball, track, cross country, martial arts, golf, skiing, etc.

OldBallCoach
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by OldBallCoach » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:14 pm

Ok...my take as a 100 year old football coach...if the kid has talent, he will be found...trust me...what we are seeing a ton of is kids that have been beat into the ground doing 100 different games, traveling all over the country side to play a game that in the 6th grade is not that big of a deal. I laugh at parents that tell me the kid has IT at in the 6th grade...in football we always look for kids that are multi sport athletes...they tend to be healthier, better students and still have a love of the game. If there is not a local school or YMCA program in your area that plays basketball I would be shocked...you can get all the games you need there...if you want the kid to get better do three things...1...send him to a good summer camp at a near by college for a week or so...2..encourage him to live a fit healthy life style that includes basic weight training, nutrition and plenty of sleep..3..tell him that school is WAY easier to get a college scholarship for that sports...4..if he is 6'4" 235 and can run a 4.4 40 yard dash forget all of that and message me now...kidding...not really...ok..kidding...balance is life is getting thrown out the window with some of the AAU and play for play leagues. Its a business and its a CASH COW for the guys running it. For some kids AAU basketball is fine...but frankly I think its turned into a monster...check out what Dr James Andrews has to say about overuse injuries in young kids...it will scare the crap out of you...google him and see...

jaguar3003
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by jaguar3003 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:23 pm

OldBallCoach wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:14 pm
Ok...my take as a 100 year old football coach...if the kid has talent, he will be found...trust me...what we are seeing a ton of is kids that have been beat into the ground doing 100 different games, traveling all over the country side to play a game that in the 6th grade is not that big of a deal.

Its a business and its a CASH COW for the guys running it.

check out what Dr James Andrews has to say about overuse injuries in young kids...it will scare the crap out of you...google him and see...
+1 for all these great points.

OldBallCoach
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by OldBallCoach » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:33 pm

OldBallCoach wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:14 pm
Ok...my take as a 100 year old football coach...if the kid has talent, he will be found...trust me...what we are seeing a ton of kids that have been beat into the ground doing 100 different games, traveling all over the country side to play a game that in the 6th grade is not that big of a deal. I laugh at parents that tell me the kid has IT at in the 6th grade...in football we always look for kids that are multi sport athletes...they tend to be healthier, better students and still have a love of the game. If there is not a local school or YMCA program in your area that plays basketball I would be shocked...you can get all the games you need there...if you want the kid to get better do three things...1...send him to a good summer camp at a near by college for a week or so...2..encourage him to live a fit healthy life style that includes basic weight training, nutrition and plenty of sleep..3..tell him that school is WAY easier to get a college scholarship for that sports...4..if he is 6'4" 235 and can run a 4.4 40 yard dash forget all of that and message me now...kidding...not really...ok..kidding...balance in life is getting thrown out the window with some of the AAU and play for play leagues. Its a business and its a CASH COW for the guys running it. For some kids AAU basketball is fine...but frankly I think its turned into a monster...check out what Dr James Andrews has to say about overuse injuries in young kids...it will scare the crap out of you...google him and see...
As far as jobs go there are tons of jobs in athletics...some pay great some pay bad...kinda like real life...the more education you have the better the chances for getting something meaningful..family life suffers if you coach...you spend way more time with the kids you recruit and coach than your own kids some weeks...some months...most everyone in college coaching has at least a Masters Degree...many have law degrees...a lot of MBAs as well...if you make it to the top the money is good...benefits and retirement are awesome at most state schools...NFL is a whole new world money wise...The wife of a coach is the most amazing person on the planet...or Hubby if the wife is the coach or AD..its a life of complete madness...and I wouldn't trade it for the world...best of luck to your family...

CheeseheadCycler
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by CheeseheadCycler » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:12 pm

Regarding college scholarships, I know 3 people who have gotten them to play football. The first gave up his scholarship when he got burnt out of playing ball and realized he would make more working at McDonalds on an hourly basis. The second realized in hindsight his football injury related hip replacement cost much more financially than his full ride scholarship. The third went to grad school for math and was a professor until his moonlighting in sports analytics became a fulltime job.

He has told me that only himself and one other analyst with a graduate degree make good money in his company.

mountain-lion
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by mountain-lion » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:17 pm

There are 347 Division I basketball programs in the US. Each has 13 full ride scholarships. So about 4,500 scholarships are available across all five years of D1 play (remember redshirting). 900 a year. Throw in the NAIA scholarships (which have different rules), and you are at maybe 1,000 full-ride scholarships a year or less than 2,000 half-ride scholarships per year. (Many programs give fractional scholarships, but they do apply to the limit of 13.)

What are the odds that your son is one of the top 2,000 players in the entire country his age? It is very, very near zero. So here is the standard you can use to judge his odds of getting a scholarship:

Is he the best player on the court every single time he steps onto one? Not just "a strong player" every time he steps on, or "arguably the best" every time he steps on. But undisputedly the best. Maybe once in a while at the biggest national tournaments he will find a rival, but the rest of the time he is obviously the best. No one wants to argue with best.

If he doesn't fit that criteria, then the odds of getting money are pretty much zero. He might, maybe get some token money (A 1/16 ride! how exciting!), but not "get my investment back money."

The benefit is might show up in helping him to get into some school that otherwise wouldn't take him, but even then, it is all hit and miss.

I say this as the parent of two girls who had the dream and pursued it pretty hard. It was somewhat successful for one. Not at all for the other. Both are happy and well adjusted, and loved, loved, loved playing, so it wasn't a burden for them to play constantly and sharpen their skills practically every waking minute. But a scholarship isn't the reason we did it. And strictly in financial terms, it didn't even come close to paying off for us.

We had our eyes wide open, and we had the money, so it wasn't a burden for us. But playing in pursuit of money is a mistake for nearly everyone.

randomguy
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by randomguy » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:20 pm

oldfatguy wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:58 pm
blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm
How do I get a rough idea about how likely my kid can get a college scholarship? For example, if a kid is invited to play at the 5th best AAU team in Northern California, does he have ~10% chance to get a basketball scholarship at a D2 college? or does he only have a 2% chance?
His chance of getting a college basketball scholarship are a small fraction of a percent, no matter what team he plays on.
Any stats to back it up? I would be shocked if the top half dozen middle school AU teams aren't putting 20% of the players in college with scholarships. Yes the overall percentage is tiny for AAU as a whole but when you make these top travel teams, it means you are an elite player that has been recruited from those thousands of other players in a metro area. Those stats don't apply to you. There is still the randomness of puberty (i.e. will you be 5'9 or 6'9), desire (are you going to keep putting in the hours), and luck(do you get a good situation, avoid injury,...) that for the marginal college players (i.e.the superstars make it no matter what) can be the difference between a scholarship and none.

How much to spend it hard to say. If you kid is clearly the best player on the court when your 5th best AAU team plays the 4th, then it is easy to say go for it. But what about if he is the 5th? What about if he comes off the bench?

At a high level though, if you are doing this expecting financial reward. Don't do it. Unless you kid is Lebron, he isn't showing enough talent in middle school to make it a good bet. You do it because it is your kids passion in life (he will be competing against hundreds of kids that live and breath the sport) and he is going to do it no matter what.

And if you think sports parents are nuts, read: https://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2017/06/ ... juilliard/ . In a lot of ways I am happy my kids haven't shown prodigy level ability in anything. I am not sure I would be able to pay the price needed to develop it.

mountain-lion
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by mountain-lion » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:27 pm

To continue my numbers, Division II has 10 scholarships per team, and 320 programs, which adds another 3200 total, divide by 5 years, and two for half-scholarships, and that adds just 320 more. Doesn't really change the math. (And that assumes all 10 scholarships are fully funded. Which many D2 programs don't.)

About 2,000,000 boys start college each year, give or take. You just have to be so good for the money to work out on the positive side. So, so, so good.

randomguy
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by randomguy » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:29 pm

mountain-lion wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:17 pm

What are the odds that your son is one of the top 2,000 players in the entire country his age? It is very, very near zero. So here is the standard you can use to judge his odds of getting a scholarship:
I would say the odds are far from zero. Look at the math. 5th best team in CA, 10 players/team, 50 states = 2500 players. Now there are good players not on the elite teams (and a lot of states where the 5th best CA team is better than their #1 team. I sure am not placing a lot of money on say Maine:)). I am betting the odds of your kid being one of the top 20k players or so is very high. Maybe even top 10k. And if your kid plays on the team , you will learn quickly if he is towards the top end of the skill distribution or if this is a noticeable gap.

mountain-lion
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by mountain-lion » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:32 pm

I'm also familiar with how rankings work in youth sports, and one really needs to take all of them with a serious grain of salt. How do they figure they are the Top -5 in Northern California? There are many ways to pad your ranking.

The real question in my mind would be, "What tournaments are they playing in?" Are they national-level, invitation only tournaments, are they "apply and hope you get accepted" tournaments, or are they "Pay your money and take your chances" tournaments? (Apply and hope can be good tournaments--heck, they all can be very fun--but the invitation only ones are where the money makers are.

OldBallCoach
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by OldBallCoach » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:48 pm

We had our eyes wide open, and we had the money, so it wasn't a burden for us. But playing in pursuit of money is a mistake for nearly everyone.
From poster Mountain Lion...well said plus 100!!!

To me kids should get way more out of college athletics than money...if you have been on a college team you get it..if not..well thats a topic of its own...
Last edited by OldBallCoach on Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MarkRoulo
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by MarkRoulo » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:50 pm

blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm
I have a middle school kid who loves playing basketball. I am struggling to figure out how much time and money I should spend to support his basketball activity. AAU team fee and travel expense add up quickly. My time and energy are also limited.

It seems many parents are motivated to spend on youth sports because the possibility of getting a college scholarship. How do I get a rough idea about how likely my kid can get a college scholarship? For example, if a kid is invited to play at the 5th best AAU team in Northern California, does he have ~10% chance to get a basketball scholarship at a D2 college? or does he only have a 2% chance?
I have a son that played travel baseball through high school. So baseball, but not basketball....

There have been other commenters pointing out the number of scholarships available (per incoming class), but there is something else you need to consider. If you kid gets a scholarship to a school that is REALLY AWFUL academically, will your kid go there?

I have a cousin who went off to play baseball at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, so this isn't totally theoretical. The UAPB average SAT score for incoming freshman seems to be around 980 (of of 1600). I can imagine getting a scholarship, but still choosing to not go. So the effective total number of scholarship slots is probably LESS than a simple calculation would indicate.

Then you need to take into account that not all the scholarships go to US students. A number of foreigners (especially Europeans for basketball) get these scholarships, too, so you're not just competing against US students, but also against some foreign students.

Given the time and money commitment, I would not recommend doing this with the idea that you'll have a scholarship (or a good chance for a scholarship) at the end. Middle school is just way too early to have an accurate idea of the probability.

Now ... the good thing is that playing travel ball is not how you get good. In any sport.

Relentless drill and practice (of the correct things, with a good coach, etc.) is the key to getting as good as you can be. This probably doesn't require being on a travel team. I suspect you can find someone to work with your kid on skills development externally to an AAU team. I'm not recommending this, just pointing out the option.

If things are looking good (e.g. does he make the Varisity team in HS in his freshman or maybe sophomore year) you can think about travel ball then.

Murgatroyd
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by Murgatroyd » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:21 pm

As the dad of a former D1 basketball player, I won’t chime in on the scholarship potential. But I will add this: those 3 years of AAU ball were some of mom and dad’s most fun years and irreplaceable friends and memories. We did it because SHE wanted to do it.

I missed A LOT of work, no one begrudged for it.

Bama12
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by Bama12 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:29 pm

My son has always played baseball. It's unreal to me the money broke people spend on travel baseball and lessons. Most of the coaches really don't know much but they have them thinking they do because they played somewhere. If they really knew they would be coaching somewhere.
If you are good enough you do not need AAU. You can work hard at home and get better.

London
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by London » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:47 pm

While kids can work on skills at home, they won’t get better in game situations without playing better talent. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of kids sports is a scam. But don’t fool yourself that the best players pick it up at a later age.

Don’t worry about scholarships. Assume there is no return on your money. Make sure the kid is enjoying it. The link about the cello parent given up above is terrifying. Even more scary are the comments that all validate the choices. To each their own, but I could never live that way.

polyphasic9
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by polyphasic9 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:55 pm

My counsel as a parent of a current D-I swimmer is that you should spend on travel sports if your child loves the sport and it's in the budget. I use the word "spend" rather than "invest," because the expected return on your capital is negative. For males, football and basketball consume a lot of most schools' budgets, so outside of those sports there's not a ton of money left (certainly not a lot of full rides for many males). For females the picture isn't quite as bleak, since they have the same total budget and no football team to spend it on. But it's still very competitive.

If you seek a financial return, just put the money in a 529.

That said, there are some strong benefits to college sports outside of financial. It can be easier to get admitted. Athletes may have preferential registration for classes, mandatory study hours, and more oversight from dedicated academic counselors. At some schools, the athletes (probably depends on specific sport) are not allowed to drink in-season, or on travel trips. Athletes are sometimes drug-tested. They cannot drink with visiting recruits (though I hear this is not always taken seriously depending on the school). Certainly for swimmers, it's god-awful hard to get through morning practice with a hangover, so they tend to be a little more judicious than the average student. My somewhat introverted son benefitted greatly from joining a very tight community of kids from the day he started on the team. The kids tend to be fairly self-disciplined and have decent time management skills. Lastly, the coach is measured by the academic progress of their athletes, and I really like the idea of an adult on campus whose job is on the line if my kid doesn't find his way to class. Your mileage may vary.

So, do it for love of sport, and do it if you think your child might enjoy college sports, but don't do it expecting a financial return.

gch
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by gch » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:15 pm

I played D1 (P5 level) college athletics. My AAU team had 7 D1 basketball/football players and 3 went on to play professionally. If you have to ask if your kid has a chance to play at the highest D1 level he probably doesn’t because even in middle school it was very apparent all of us were physically larger and more athletically gifted than 99% of the people we played against.

However, if your kid thinks he’s interested in playing lower D1 or D2/NAIA I’d actually say he has a pretty good chance if he’s getting playing time at a top tier AAU team. There are a LOT of D2/NAIA schools.

Finally, I would not make your financial decisions based on a scholarship. The money you spend, if invested instead, and the hours he spends practicing/traveling/working out, if he was working instead, would likely yield much higher than the value of a college scholarship. The decision should rest solely on his enjoyment and your ability to pay. I personally made life long friends, went to places I’d never been, and had experiences most haven’t all before I was 18. Caveat is our AAU team had a sponsor so everything was free.

randomguy
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by randomguy » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:27 pm

London wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:47 pm
While kids can work on skills at home, they won’t get better in game situations without playing better talent. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of kids sports is a scam. But don’t fool yourself that the best players pick it up at a later age.

Don’t worry about scholarships. Assume there is no return on your money. Make sure the kid is enjoying it. The link about the cello parent given up above is terrifying. Even more scary are the comments that all validate the choices. To each their own, but I could never live that way.
In a lot of sports, you need good competition to push you. And if you play against subpar, you will develop bad habits. But this only applies if your are dominating your local competition. If your teams O is based on giving you the ball and letting you go 1vs5, then you need better competition.

And yes the cello article is scary but you will find numerous variations of it among high level performances. If you kid has the skill and desire to be the #1 cello (or any other activity) in the world, how much would you sacrifice? But how do you figure out if your kid will be say top 10 in the US versus say top 1000 (or whatever the cut off is for making it a career)?

Topic Author
blackwhisker
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:20 am

HIMcDunnough wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:38 pm
blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm

Another question I have is how youth sports help one's career directions/options in the long run. My kid might stop playing basketball after high school if he doesn't get to play at college level. How can one find a job in sports-related field if that's what he enjoys? for example, are there stable jobs in sports marketing? Or is it very rare and competitive in those fields?
I'll take on this part, since there will soon be a raft of people by shortly to say that any chance at a scholarship is minimal (and the scholarship at lower levels might not be a full ride), and you should only pay for AAU or similar sports if you can afford it and think your child's enjoyment and personal growth from the activity is worth it.

There are numerous non-playing, non-coaching jobs in sports, but like in any industry, it can be competitive depending on the desirability of the job. I have friends who are associate athletic directors of D-1 schools and one that's the president of a major pro sports team--all have law degrees. I also have a family friend who's a scout for an MLB team, but he had to (1) play college baseball at an Ivy League school, and (2) bust his ass working for a small minor league affiliate for years to get there. Another friend does community relations for another MLB team; she similarly worked her way up from crappier promotions jobs for years to get where she is.

Finally, I'm not sure how much this helps with your sports-crazed child, but many sports jobs aren't particularly attractive to those with families. Attending the games each night is often expected, if not compulsory, and the fun of going to a pro game wears off when you're working your 40th of the season. The college associate athletic directors also get sent to remote places where, for example, their softball team is playing some mid-major in February.
Thank you for the helpful reply HIMcDunnough!

Topic Author
blackwhisker
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:30 am

mountain-lion wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:17 pm
There are 347 Division I basketball programs in the US. Each has 13 full ride scholarships. So about 4,500 scholarships are available across all five years of D1 play (remember redshirting). 900 a year. Throw in the NAIA scholarships (which have different rules), and you are at maybe 1,000 full-ride scholarships a year or less than 2,000 half-ride scholarships per year. (Many programs give fractional scholarships, but they do apply to the limit of 13.)

What are the odds that your son is one of the top 2,000 players in the entire country his age? It is very, very near zero. So here is the standard you can use to judge his odds of getting a scholarship:

Is he the best player on the court every single time he steps onto one? Not just "a strong player" every time he steps on, or "arguably the best" every time he steps on. But undisputedly the best. Maybe once in a while at the biggest national tournaments he will find a rival, but the rest of the time he is obviously the best. No one wants to argue with best.

If he doesn't fit that criteria, then the odds of getting money are pretty much zero. He might, maybe get some token money (A 1/16 ride! how exciting!), but not "get my investment back money."

The benefit is might show up in helping him to get into some school that otherwise wouldn't take him, but even then, it is all hit and miss.

I say this as the parent of two girls who had the dream and pursued it pretty hard. It was somewhat successful for one. Not at all for the other. Both are happy and well adjusted, and loved, loved, loved playing, so it wasn't a burden for them to play constantly and sharpen their skills practically every waking minute. But a scholarship isn't the reason we did it. And strictly in financial terms, it didn't even come close to paying off for us.

We had our eyes wide open, and we had the money, so it wasn't a burden for us. But playing in pursuit of money is a mistake for nearly everyone.
Thank you for breaking down the numbers for me mountain-lion! I usually try my best to support my kid's interests, whether it is basketball, nerf blasters or rubik's cubing. For me, I need to find a balance between keeping him happy and staying within my budget(money and time).

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by chevca » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:31 am

blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm
I have a middle school kid who loves playing basketball.
What is there to discuss beyond this?

Spend your money and time on it because your kid loves it. Simple as that. Your kid will only be young once. They will make great friends and learn life lessons. Chances are your kid won't get a scholarship. The vast majority of us that play/played youth sports don't/won't. Who cares?

That you're trying to figure if it's worth it based on what future the kid might have in it...........

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:34 am

randomguy wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:20 pm
oldfatguy wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:58 pm
blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm
How do I get a rough idea about how likely my kid can get a college scholarship? For example, if a kid is invited to play at the 5th best AAU team in Northern California, does he have ~10% chance to get a basketball scholarship at a D2 college? or does he only have a 2% chance?
His chance of getting a college basketball scholarship are a small fraction of a percent, no matter what team he plays on.
Any stats to back it up? I would be shocked if the top half dozen middle school AU teams aren't putting 20% of the players in college with scholarships. Yes the overall percentage is tiny for AAU as a whole but when you make these top travel teams, it means you are an elite player that has been recruited from those thousands of other players in a metro area. Those stats don't apply to you. There is still the randomness of puberty (i.e. will you be 5'9 or 6'9), desire (are you going to keep putting in the hours), and luck(do you get a good situation, avoid injury,...) that for the marginal college players (i.e.the superstars make it no matter what) can be the difference between a scholarship and none.

How much to spend it hard to say. If you kid is clearly the best player on the court when your 5th best AAU team plays the 4th, then it is easy to say go for it. But what about if he is the 5th? What about if he comes off the bench?

At a high level though, if you are doing this expecting financial reward. Don't do it. Unless you kid is Lebron, he isn't showing enough talent in middle school to make it a good bet. You do it because it is your kids passion in life (he will be competing against hundreds of kids that live and breath the sport) and he is going to do it no matter what.

And if you think sports parents are nuts, read: https://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2017/06/ ... juilliard/ . In a lot of ways I am happy my kids haven't shown prodigy level ability in anything. I am not sure I would be able to pay the price needed to develop it.
Thank you for the reply randomguy! you have a lot of good points!

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:39 am

CheeseheadCycler wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:12 pm
Regarding college scholarships, I know 3 people who have gotten them to play football. The first gave up his scholarship when he got burnt out of playing ball and realized he would make more working at McDonalds on an hourly basis. The second realized in hindsight his football injury related hip replacement cost much more financially than his full ride scholarship. The third went to grad school for math and was a professor until his moonlighting in sports analytics became a fulltime job.

He has told me that only himself and one other analyst with a graduate degree make good money in his company.
Thanks Cheeseheadcycler! These stories sound realistic.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:41 am

gch wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:15 pm
I played D1 (P5 level) college athletics. My AAU team had 7 D1 basketball/football players and 3 went on to play professionally. If you have to ask if your kid has a chance to play at the highest D1 level he probably doesn’t because even in middle school it was very apparent all of us were physically larger and more athletically gifted than 99% of the people we played against.

However, if your kid thinks he’s interested in playing lower D1 or D2/NAIA I’d actually say he has a pretty good chance if he’s getting playing time at a top tier AAU team. There are a LOT of D2/NAIA schools.

Finally, I would not make your financial decisions based on a scholarship. The money you spend, if invested instead, and the hours he spends practicing/traveling/working out, if he was working instead, would likely yield much higher than the value of a college scholarship. The decision should rest solely on his enjoyment and your ability to pay. I personally made life long friends, went to places I’d never been, and had experiences most haven’t all before I was 18. Caveat is our AAU team had a sponsor so everything was free.
Thanks for the reply gch. it sounds like your AAU team was very high level.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:43 am

polyphasic9 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:55 pm
My counsel as a parent of a current D-I swimmer is that you should spend on travel sports if your child loves the sport and it's in the budget. I use the word "spend" rather than "invest," because the expected return on your capital is negative. For males, football and basketball consume a lot of most schools' budgets, so outside of those sports there's not a ton of money left (certainly not a lot of full rides for many males). For females the picture isn't quite as bleak, since they have the same total budget and no football team to spend it on. But it's still very competitive.

If you seek a financial return, just put the money in a 529.

That said, there are some strong benefits to college sports outside of financial. It can be easier to get admitted. Athletes may have preferential registration for classes, mandatory study hours, and more oversight from dedicated academic counselors. At some schools, the athletes (probably depends on specific sport) are not allowed to drink in-season, or on travel trips. Athletes are sometimes drug-tested. They cannot drink with visiting recruits (though I hear this is not always taken seriously depending on the school). Certainly for swimmers, it's god-awful hard to get through morning practice with a hangover, so they tend to be a little more judicious than the average student. My somewhat introverted son benefitted greatly from joining a very tight community of kids from the day he started on the team. The kids tend to be fairly self-disciplined and have decent time management skills. Lastly, the coach is measured by the academic progress of their athletes, and I really like the idea of an adult on campus whose job is on the line if my kid doesn't find his way to class. Your mileage may vary.

So, do it for love of sport, and do it if you think your child might enjoy college sports, but don't do it expecting a financial return.
Thanks for the reply polyphasic9.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:47 am

MarkRoulo wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:50 pm
blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm
I have a middle school kid who loves playing basketball. I am struggling to figure out how much time and money I should spend to support his basketball activity. AAU team fee and travel expense add up quickly. My time and energy are also limited.

It seems many parents are motivated to spend on youth sports because the possibility of getting a college scholarship. How do I get a rough idea about how likely my kid can get a college scholarship? For example, if a kid is invited to play at the 5th best AAU team in Northern California, does he have ~10% chance to get a basketball scholarship at a D2 college? or does he only have a 2% chance?
I have a son that played travel baseball through high school. So baseball, but not basketball....

There have been other commenters pointing out the number of scholarships available (per incoming class), but there is something else you need to consider. If you kid gets a scholarship to a school that is REALLY AWFUL academically, will your kid go there?

I have a cousin who went off to play baseball at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, so this isn't totally theoretical. The UAPB average SAT score for incoming freshman seems to be around 980 (of of 1600). I can imagine getting a scholarship, but still choosing to not go. So the effective total number of scholarship slots is probably LESS than a simple calculation would indicate.

Then you need to take into account that not all the scholarships go to US students. A number of foreigners (especially Europeans for basketball) get these scholarships, too, so you're not just competing against US students, but also against some foreign students.

Given the time and money commitment, I would not recommend doing this with the idea that you'll have a scholarship (or a good chance for a scholarship) at the end. Middle school is just way too early to have an accurate idea of the probability.

Now ... the good thing is that playing travel ball is not how you get good. In any sport.

Relentless drill and practice (of the correct things, with a good coach, etc.) is the key to getting as good as you can be. This probably doesn't require being on a travel team. I suspect you can find someone to work with your kid on skills development externally to an AAU team. I'm not recommending this, just pointing out the option.

If things are looking good (e.g. does he make the Varisity team in HS in his freshman or maybe sophomore year) you can think about travel ball then.
Than you MarkRoulo! I definitely agree - i wouldn't want my kid to play basketball at a college where he can't get a good education. Also, thank you for pointing out the competition from international students!

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:48 am

London wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:47 pm
While kids can work on skills at home, they won’t get better in game situations without playing better talent. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of kids sports is a scam. But don’t fool yourself that the best players pick it up at a later age.

Don’t worry about scholarships. Assume there is no return on your money. Make sure the kid is enjoying it. The link about the cello parent given up above is terrifying. Even more scary are the comments that all validate the choices. To each their own, but I could never live that way.
Thanks London.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:52 am

OldBallCoach wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:14 pm
Ok...my take as a 100 year old football coach...if the kid has talent, he will be found...trust me...what we are seeing a ton of is kids that have been beat into the ground doing 100 different games, traveling all over the country side to play a game that in the 6th grade is not that big of a deal. I laugh at parents that tell me the kid has IT at in the 6th grade...in football we always look for kids that are multi sport athletes...they tend to be healthier, better students and still have a love of the game. If there is not a local school or YMCA program in your area that plays basketball I would be shocked...you can get all the games you need there...if you want the kid to get better do three things...1...send him to a good summer camp at a near by college for a week or so...2..encourage him to live a fit healthy life style that includes basic weight training, nutrition and plenty of sleep..3..tell him that school is WAY easier to get a college scholarship for that sports...4..if he is 6'4" 235 and can run a 4.4 40 yard dash forget all of that and message me now...kidding...not really...ok..kidding...balance is life is getting thrown out the window with some of the AAU and play for play leagues. Its a business and its a CASH COW for the guys running it. For some kids AAU basketball is fine...but frankly I think its turned into a monster...check out what Dr James Andrews has to say about overuse injuries in young kids...it will scare the crap out of you...google him and see...
Thank you for the reply OldBallCoach! This is helpful. yes I agree youth sports is a CASH COW for they guys running it.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:55 am

Murgatroyd wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:21 pm
As the dad of a former D1 basketball player, I won’t chime in on the scholarship potential. But I will add this: those 3 years of AAU ball were some of mom and dad’s most fun years and irreplaceable friends and memories. We did it because SHE wanted to do it.

I missed A LOT of work, no one begrudged for it.
Thanks Murgatroyd. glad to hear your family had great memories from the 3 years in AAU.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by blackwhisker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:59 am

stuper1 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:50 pm
Unless you can see that he is in the top 5 or 10% of players in his league, I would encourage you to try to feed his love for sports with a local league, if you have one, rather than a travel league. Most of the fun is in just being involved, not necessarily being involved at the highest levels. Teach him that life has tradeoffs, money doesn't grow on trees, etc. Just flat out tell him that you can't afford it. That's what I've done with my kids. For most people, they would be much better off saving the money for college, say in a 529, than in paying for travel leagues. Sports is too encouraged in our society. A bit of sports is fine. But life is a lot more than just sports. I don't believe much of the talk about team sports building character, etc. Team sports can also teach a kid a lot of bad things. I know several people who played a lot of team sports who are basically athletic bullies. I wish our society would encourage more lifetime sports, rather than team sports. It's hard to get 10 or 20 people together at the same time when you become an adult. I think parents do their kids a great service in pointing them towards lifetime sports, which can include things like tennis, pickleball, track, cross country, martial arts, golf, skiing, etc.
Thanks for the reply stuper1! I do agree sports is too encouraged in our society.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by JOEVANDAL » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:38 am

If you have tons of money and can pay for your kid's college (assuming you want to do that), and your kid LOVES hoops, then go for it. Otherwise, save your money for college instead of travel teams. Like many have said, don't plan on a scholarship. Many AAU coaches brag that their players will get scholarships, but oftentimes that scholarship is $20,000 per year to go to a NAIA school that is private and the annual cost of attendance is $55,000. So in essence, you are still paying an extra $15k for your kid to play a college sport when he could go to a public university for $20k or so.
I remember my son playing AAU in middle school and all the parents were worried about playing time. One day, I chimed in a stated that there might be one kid (out of 10) on the team that will be on the varsity HS team when they are seniors.(and my prediction wasn't my kid) The disgusted looks I received from a few parents were amazing. When they were seniors, one of these kids was on the varsity, not the one I thought but only one.
My son ended up playing HS golf and I remember people asking me after his freshman year if he planned on playing college golf and I just laughed and said, "do you realize how good you have to be to play in college, at any level? I just want him to enjoy his HS years.". Golf is a lifetime sport and will serve him well in the business world since he is now out of college.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by ScubaHogg » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:21 am

blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm
I have a middle school kid who loves playing basketball. I am struggling to figure out how much time and money I should spend to support his basketball activity. AAU team fee and travel expense add up quickly. My time and energy are also limited.

It seems many parents are motivated to spend on youth sports because the possibility of getting a college scholarship. How do I get a rough idea about how likely my kid can get a college scholarship? For example, if a kid is invited to play at the 5th best AAU team in Northern California, does he have ~10% chance to get a basketball scholarship at a D2 college? or does he only have a 2% chance?
Probably more likely to get an academic scholarship than a sports scholarship, especially in basketball. If he was a legit D1 player, you would know by now. Maybe not, but probably. D2 likely has a better shot, but is that where he wants to go to school?

Personally, I’d treat basketball as a fun extracurricular and treat class work as the real “job.”

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by nydoc » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:10 am

How is he doing academically?

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by NJdad6 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:32 am

Some good and misleading info posted here. The numbers are correct. There are few D1 basketball scholarships. Being the best in the court is not good enough. You need to be one of the best in the state meaning first or second team all state. You also need exposure on a high ranked AAU team playing in National Tournaments. At these tournaments you need to play at a very high level. Potential (physical and developmental) also needs to be there. If you are at this level you will get multiple D1 offers most with a full scholarship.

You can do some research by looking at the first, second and third team all state selections and seeing where they went to play in college, if at all. You will most likely see a bunch of D1 and some D2 or D3. If you move down to the all conference selections most likely you will only see a handful of D3, maybe an occasional D1 or D2.

Most parents are completely clueless about this process. The comment regarding volleyball is partially true. You will be offered a partial scholarship. There are only 3-4 scholarships for D1 men’s volleyball that need to be split among 20 players. Same with Lacrosse.

Things are different now than the were even 20 years ago. Being the best is not enough. You need the exposure and that is now AAU and things like NCAA recruiting events. Coaches very rarely recruit at HS games.

There are no D3 scholarships. There are D2 scholarships available. They are usually partial. Another thing to note is D2 schools tend to be poorly rated academic schools.

Basketball may get a student into a school they might not normally get into. Schools like Johns Hopkins, Rochester, Wash U., Emory, NYU, etc. are very high academic D3 schools that have more favorable admission requirements for athletes. However no scholarship money for sports.

I went through this myself and my kids have or are going through it. Older son was nationally ranked in his sport (not basketball) and an All-American candidate. Had multiple D1-D3 offers. None from a school he wanted and received much higher scholarship money for academic performance. He decided not to play in college. Younger son has a lot of D3 and some D1 interest. So far no schools we would consider.

AAU can be a great experience if you are on a team with a positive coach that treats players with respect and sets a positive example. Many AAU programs are money grabs, or have an unhealthy culture. It is best to talk to the other parents and maybe go to a practice or 2 before you commit.

Most important thing by far is academic performance. There are many very talented HS players that coaches overlook due to poor academics. Very few players at the D1 level make a living in basketball. Good grades and the right college choice will have the biggest impact on overall career. I played college basketball and it has had very little if any impact on my career path. However, I have 3 teammates that do/did make a living in basketball. One played in Europe, one is a college coach and the other a HS coach.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by gtg970g » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:39 am

I have not read all responses so perhaps this has already been mentioned. One benefit of being a college athlete even at a school that does "not offer scholarships" is that it can help you with admissions and financial aid. I had a coworker who was a track coach for a school that did not offer "scholarships" but those coaches went to bat for their recruits at the financial aid office. Basketball could also enable your son to get admitted into a school he otherwise may not receive admission from.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by Murgatroyd » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:58 am

This discussion is mostly centered on how difficult it is for a D1 scholarship, which is right. But little on D2, which I will fill in. There are another 312 of those schools which improves the odds. Our daughter's talent level was right on that line between D1 and D2 and we had far more interest at the lower level as you'd expect. There is more competition for boys but available scholarships are the same. I found an interesting chart showing 5.6% of boys and 6.7% of girls transitioned to playing basketball at any college level in '18-19 school year. The D1 odds are around 1%. Here's the link with some other great info:
http://www.scholarshipstats.com/basketball.htm

D2 schools don't have 13 full rides, but they do have ways to get you there. I don't know what the rules are now but 15 years ago they had IIRC 5,6 full rides and then a varying group of partials. But the key thing is academics. Our daughter was a top student so we saw different packages that got to full ride status. We were told outright that her grades allowed the coach to save full rides for less academically accomplished students, so we never received a "full" ride from the coaches. On a typical visit we'd sit with the coach and receive that piece then sit with the academics office to receive their piece. The coach would always have it summarized.

The thing to understand is smaller schools have smaller coaching staffs and budgets so they are unable to recruit outside of a range. So they will find kids at high school games inside their immediate area but you may need more exposure by, yes, playing some form of AAU. Our experience is they will be at the local summer tournaments in force which is the most efficient use of their budgets. We'd be on our phones as a group just trying to figure out the school logo's because its often hard to know who those schools are. I believe we saw schools from a wider geographical range at the local tourneys, say maybe up to 3-400 miles versus the usual closer ones, 100 miles or so, at high school games. So, you don't need to be with a higher end "traveling" team to get pretty good exposure to the D2 opportunities.

Our daughter was never the best on her team but because there was usually a stud we were sure she was seen. And, like clockwork, whenever she had a great game we'd get the letters. Funny story on that; she made an insane move in one game and we looked over at the coaches section and many of them were scribbling furiously, never made that move again. Over those three years we had maybe 1/4 of the girls receive full rides to D2 schools.

I will just add one more thing about AAU. It CAN be the case that the summer coach is better than the high school coach. We experienced that in spades. We have absolutely no doubt she would've gone nowhere without her summer coach.

I don't have to add there are some fantastic D2 schools out there. Long way of saying there is more than D1 out there.

Regards,

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by chevca » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:19 pm

Bottom line is, getting an athletic scholarship anywhere is difficult. Not an exact number here, but 95% of kids that play youth sports don't even get looked at let alone a scholarship offer. If the OP wants to play percentages, those are the ones to look at.

Let the kid play just because they love basketball. If they end up getting an offer someday, great. It's really sad that youth sports have turned into what they have now.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by Prokofiev » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:32 pm

blackwhisker wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:51 pm

Once I heard a mom talking about volleyball. she said something like if kid plays on a high school team that's ranked 50th or higher in California, then the kid might have a good chance to get a scholarship.
If your child is a boy, forget about volleyball scholarships. Limited to 4.5 per college and there are very few schools with a men's volleyball program.

It's different for women's NCAA volleyball. About 350 schools have Division I programs. Just hope she is tall.
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by Old Guy » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:34 pm

Let me come at this from another angle. I was an investigator for the office for civil rights in the US Department of Education. I had a specialty in Title IX athletics. I investigated sports programs in HBCUs, community colleges, colleges with Patriot League type programs, and at major academic and sports universities. I’m glad my son was an arty type kid.

College level intercollegiate athletics particularly for those on scholarship was, in my observation, all consuming. Coaches owned you. You worked out, supervised or unsupervised, all year round. Some of the athletic facilities were of such low quality as to be dangerous to the participants. Occasionally coaches told you what courses to take. In many cases, and in all sports and for both sexes, athletes were often injured sometimes incapacitating them.

It wasn’t the way I wanted my son to to spend his fours years in college.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by J295 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:40 pm

Personally, we never evaluated it on a cost of activity versus potential return from a scholarship… fortunately, cost was not an issue, and the potential of a scholarship is way too difficult to estimate with any reasonable certainty (it wasn’t noted much above as far as I could tell, but don’t forget that every athlete is an injury away from being on the shelf and/or having their abilities materially diminished). So, subject to financial and other constraints, if I were you I would just continue supporting and loving your child the best way you know how.

These observations from the parent of an All Big XII full ride student athlete. We never pushed sports, and as a result after her sophomore year she had the freedom to ”retire” so she could go study abroad and that was the end of her competitive sports career.

And, noting the comment just above, at least at the Division I level, college sports is a real grind. Men and women both.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by Nowizard » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:43 pm

Most of us think our children are worthy of scholarships of one sort or another, but athletic scholarships are among the most difficult to assure, particularly at the age of the child you mention. Take a look at the NFL, for example, and you will find many players from unheard of schools. Yep, some had academic or other issues but many simply matured later and/or had talents more suited to pro than college ball. Would your son accept a scholarship to a school that was a minor one academically if that were the only one offered? Sports are a part of an overall college application but academics are a much more controllable way to assure acceptance. It is short-sighted in most cases for athletics to be a prime goal rather than as activities that augment overall development.

Tim

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by dowse » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:44 pm

Based on some personal experience and some first-hand observations, I strongly believe that if you have to take the initiative to get your kid onto an elite travel or AAU team, then the answer is that the kid is not a D1 talent. If he does have that kind of talent, word gets around, and the elite teams will come to you.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:07 pm

Teach him that life has tradeoffs, money doesn't grow on trees, etc. Just flat out tell him that you can't afford it.
Just a comment on this since the board has a lot of discussions about how to teach kids about money. We almost never told our kids we couldn't afford something. We told them it wasn't how we were going to spend our money. There were a lot of things we could have done but didn't, because we were working toward goals - college funding, retirement, charitable giving, etc.

And yes, if you are playing a sport as a scholarship athlete at the D1 level, the coach owns you. I'm not sure that's the world I'd want my kids to be in, unless they just couldn't see any other thing they'd rather do.

I just don't get the time and money people spend on travel teams. If people enjoy that life, good for them. But if you back away from it you will soon find out that "everybody" isn't doing it. It's just that the people who are doing it don't have enough bandwidth to see what's going on outside their group.

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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by Old Guy » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:27 pm

And don’t think D 3 schools are any less competitive or demanding in the commitment to athletics to the point of distorting their admissions programs. Williams College has 32 varsity teams. Can you imagine the impact on admissions to make sure all those teams are competitive?

jlawrence01
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by jlawrence01 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:56 pm

Old Guy wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:27 pm
And don’t think D 3 schools are any less competitive or demanding in the commitment to athletics to the point of distorting their admissions programs. Williams College has 32 varsity teams. Can you imagine the impact on admissions to make sure all those teams are competitive?
I agree that D-3 schools are very competitive in athletics, especially in football and basketball. Do realize that athletics is a very important way that a number of the schools use to encourage enrollment. The top 20 football teams in Division III generally recruit 75-100 male freshmen students to play football each year. That is 60-80 students who likely would NOT have attended their college otherwise. Eventually, of those admits, three things happen. Some people make the team and remain at the college. Some do not make the team but continue at the school as they like the place. Many of the rest complete the year at the college and then head to a different university for their sophomore yea. No matter which of the three groups that the student falls in, the school benefits.

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In an unrelated note, with all the talented kids on these AAU teams, why don't the coaches work with the talented kids to ensure that they are academically eligible

GatorBait2018
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Re: AAU basketball, college scholarships and career options/choices

Post by GatorBait2018 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:19 pm

Is he the best player on the court every single time he steps onto one? Not just "a strong player" every time he steps on, or "arguably the best" every time he steps on. But undisputedly the best. Maybe once in a while at the biggest national tournaments he will find a rival, but the rest of the time he is obviously the best. No one wants to argue with best.

Eh, I'm going to disagree with this. This is highly dependent on where you live. I'm in Chicago. On my high school team alone, we had 2 D1 scholarship players, 1 Patriot League recruit (D1 but no scholarships) and 6 guys end up walking on at Big East/Big 10 schools. I played in multiple games with 5 or 6 D1 scholarships recipients were on the floor at any given time. AAU ball was similar. Heck, the top AAU team in Illinois was basically for D1 recruits only.

There's a couple things to think about for OP. First, how tall are you? How tall is your son's mother? If you don't project your son getting any taller than 6'1, he's going to have to be insanely good. There will be no getting by on size/talent/athleticism only, unless he's Allen Iverson reincarnated. That said, growth spurts happen at very different times for people. I remember playing freshman ball against a guy who was 5'5. By senior year, he was 6'6 and a D1 recruit. Second, the competition where you live. Y ball is fine in some places, it's horrid in others. He may want to travel to seek out any competition. Third, focus on grades. While I didn't play basketball in college, I did play football. Academics in combination with sports opened up a lot of doors. Big-time programs will be happy to take a flyer on you as a walk-on. Ivy's are always looking for good athletes who are also good students. I could have played at Ivy League schools where I would have been unlikely to get into without sports. Even for D3 sports, this can help significantly. University of Chicago comes to mind.

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