This one is for the parents. I encourage every parent to focus on the most important factor in determining where your child should attend college as a potential student-athlete. It can be summed up in one simple question, which is, “What school is the best fit for my child?” Not the best team or program or stadium or television deal, but rather what school provides the best fit for your child? I have coached many players over the years and have enjoyed watching them accept scholarships and depart to campuses across the nation. Those that do not find success realized very quickly that there is so much more to the college experience than football. They also realized that their coaches (and their parents) were not an ever present help in time of need like their high school coaches who worked in the same building in a classroom or office down the hall.
My advice to all student-athletes is the same. I tell them to close their eyes and see the campus, stadium, locker room, weight room, dining hall, media room, etc. of each of the schools they want to attend. Then I tell them to picture themselves in a wheelchair and ask them where they feel most comfortable. That is the school I advise them to attend. Why? Because they will only play 40 – 50 football games while spending 1,400 – 1,800 days at one particular institution. Never forget that your children are a gift, not a commodity. Collegiate athletics is an incredible opportunity and experience. I credit my college football experience for helping to shape my character and work-ethic. However, I will be eternally grateful for a mother and older brothers and sister who helped me see what I could not see as an eighteen year old – that I needed to attend an institution – not a football program – that I wanted to have a relationship with for the rest of my life. My last bit of advice is to make sure your child is enjoying the experience. It is stressful, time consuming and demanding, however, always be mindful of the fact that not everyone gets to experience being recruited. Help them sift through the politics and pressure but do not be a helicopter or a bulldozer parent. Give them the space to venture out on their own and learn how to communicate and meet deadlines. Let them own their campus visits. I wish you well and safe travels. Enjoy the journey!