Navigating a USA College , University Scholarship 101

The reward and or the possible rewards of an athletic scholarship can be very exciting.

Listed are a few of the positive aspects to gaining an athletic scholarship.

  1. Moving to a new environment that has a full time focus around your sport
  1. Living in a new country or state which has ideal weather and or facilities for all year around outdoor activity
  1. Surrounding yourself with like-minded student athletes that compete at or near the level you are performing at.
  1. Having access to consistent and routine training as well as competition with the appropriate level of performance as you develop.
  1. Gaining financial assistance at school while doing a sport you love both training and competing for.

Athletics are not always a means to an end but rather an activity that might make attending post secondary education more interesting, enjoyable and rewarding.

Try and take advantage of all aspects your chosen school has to offer not just the athletic side of things. Focus on your sport but keep the bigger picture in your radar. This might be easier once your time approaches graduation.

It’s important to understand your priorities before looking or accepting an athletic scholarship. If your primary gain is to excel in your chosen sport, where you attend University or College will require some understanding of the history of that institution, what their priorities as a school are and are your goals in the best interest of the school you plan to attend?

Having some understanding of the schools budget as it pertains to your event is another area where you want to look at. Available online or from the school’s athletic department you will be able to see the records of performance, under who’s guidance and what level of performance has been consistent. Is the school spending enough money to attend the key events? ( who decides what the key events are? Do you understand what the most important events in your sport are? How will you find out if you don’t already know?)

What performance do you need to achieve to be apart of the travel, which delivers you to the competition you require to perform? Knowing this ahead might help you adjust your thinking before you accept a schools offer of scholarship.

Will everyone on the team be treated as an equal ? = This might make things a bit more comfortable and give you time for you to adjust to a new situation especially if you are travelling oversees? How likely is it that every member of the team will be treated equally? What might be some strategies to make the most of where you stand within your new team structure?


Below is a quote from Coach Charlie Francis who attended Stanford in the late 60’s and early 1970’s on an athletic scholarship for the men’s 100 yrd dash. Once ranked number 5 in the world in the men’s 100-meter dash. Francis comments.,


     “ As I approached the end of high school, I knew my destiny pointed south , to the US. The Canadian Universities had little in the way of indoor training facilities and virtually no track scholarships. America represented adventure and opportunity, and I wanted to be apart of it.


     When Stanford began recruiting me, it all sounded promising: The California climate, the best competition and the least the schools head coach, Payton Jordan, who had developed Larry Questad into the 1963 National Collegiate Athletic Association 100 yd. Campion. “ Charlie Francis with Jeff Coplon “ Speed Trap”. Inside the Biggest Scandal in Olympic History 1990 Page 23 ( Stanford) " 


To read more about Coach Francis’s experiences as an athlete, coach and his adventures of his take on his athletic scholarship, take a look here:


To read more about Coach Jordan and what was going on at Stanford at this time take a look at a book by one of Charlie’s team mates James S. Ward and John B. Scott.


My advice to anyone hoping to take advantage of an athletic scholarship is to understand that Universities are a business. A coach is getting paid to get results. Athletes are recruited to win on command. Often there is not much room for error for the school, the coach or the athlete. Many of these variables may make your personal performance secondary to collecting points for the larger team. Finding the best fit of school for you might not necessarily coincide with the schools that are recruiting you.


I would like to make a few more points which will not exhaust the list of points to be made in this conversation.


Point 1 = I did not attend a US school for my track career but it was a dream of mine. Why didn’t I go? My family believed (in error) that the only way to go and take advantage of a US scholarship would be to have it 100 percent funded. I later learned this NEVER happens. There are numerous incidentals outside of the actual “ business deal”.


Point 2 = this point is for all athletes not just scholarship takers or scholarship hopefuls. Use your coach and your family/ friends to gather information and knowledge on “ what to do, in what scenario’s “. Remember YOU are and will be in charge of the execution. Grow up, own your dream and desire and do your part. If and when you succeed at this, you will have succeeded in attaining a very beneficial, life time useful “ life skill”.

Point 3 = my final point made = As an athlete of a team or a member of a new team ( which you need to think of as a business ) the one thing you can do is keep yourself fully and routinely regenerated. Learning to consistently keep yourself 100 percent ready to take full advantage of all training on and off your game is again a life skill ( as per my point # 2).


Note : Readiness to train includes the preparation of your mind, body and nervous system to accept and hopefully adapt to the demands of the work getting administered to you with or without knowing what is to come. Regenerating properly gives you something to control in the face of a multitude of new experiences when away from your home base.


If you would like to understand more about Regenerating for the Men’s 100 meter dash or if you would like to understand more about Effectively regenerating to build speed, strength, agility and athletic dominance take a look a few things here.

To understand the theory read this =


To see the theory in practice / A regenerative workout to replace cardiovascular training if injured or needing to reduce impact


Get in the habit of asking open curious questions about what you need to do to enjoy, take advantage and succeed with or without your athletic scholarship.


I wish you luck and great fun trying .

Should you need any help with any of this send me a note. I’ll do my best to help or point you in a few places to get help.

take care,


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1 comment

If a student can get to an Ivy League univ like a Princeton for example,whether or not they get athletic money is a mute point. Even if they have to take loans, with the job an Ivy school secures you, you will pay a loan off in 2 or 3 yr , and be making huge salary.

Otherwise, any other school it’s more worth it to find a program where they get better. Just because they are a top 10 program doesn’t mean kids improve. They are already fast enough when they arrive as frosh, so they win. But that doesn’t mean they get better.

Choose wisely. Find a place where the athletes are not hurt perpetually, and where MOST kids increase their performance.


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