Let’s take a look at the big picture for a moment...
College Sports is a TREMENDOUS BUSINESS. Hundreds of millions (dare I say billions) of dollars are spent every year on this industry. Everything from the games, facilities, and tournaments; to media, logo/apparel and travel, people from almost every walk of life will spend money to see their school or team win.
Before we get into the Xs and Os of a particular sport, we must recognize that most college sports programs are a key source of revenue and media exposure for their respective schools. Colleges and Universities need their sports teams to perform well so they can attract more students, push the school’s brand and media presence, key elements for any college or university’s long-term survival.
The return-on-investment of a sports scholarship compared to the revenue produced from an athlete/team is huge. A school’s financial position will not suffer if they give an athlete a free education when that athlete will produce many times that in revenue, especially if they consistently win.
I experienced this while playing college basketball at the Naval Academy. During my time at the Academy, we made it to the NCAA tournament in 1994 and the Patriot League Championships in 1994 and 1995. Both the Naval Academy and I experienced the perfect “win/win”. I received a top-notch education, earned an Economics degree allowing me to compete in corporate America. The Academy benefited with the millions of dollars in increased revenue, media exposure and more access to future student/athletes.
As you can see, College Sports is a BIG business and there’s plenty of opportunity for the serious high school athlete. Since it is a business first, the competition and pressure is fierce at the college level. Coaches are not only competing to win a game, they’re competing for job security and their legacy. At the end of the day, the number of wins/losses typically determines a coach’s success and legacy. Coaches need the right student-athletes to take advantage of the educational opportunity in the classroom and go to battle on the court!
Based on my own college sports experience and my friendships with college coaches and players, I wanted to give you the “scouting report” on what college coaches look for in perspective student athletes. I’ve summarized this into 4 categories (in no particular order): talent, potential/upside, character and work ethic.