By Oscar Churniak
I definitely have a bias opinion about high school sports and the jocks that flock to sports. I can however, also recognize the opportunity that sport can offer high school students. This past week I couldn’t help but notice that a University scout was coming to check out the football team. The buzz of the scout’s arrival had the entire school in an uproar – from teachers being lenient on football players school work, to cheerleaders cheering in hyper over-drive to the constant football cheers in the hallway, it was pretty unavoidable. So I went on a hunt for the elusive scout and what he can offer a high school student. I discovered that the hype really is somewhat justified.
Being recruited by a university scout is a big opportunity and allows teens to continue to grow and excel in the chosen sport on a university level. If a scout has made the effort to come down to your school and check out your skills, the odds are that the University is looking for new players and your school is on the list of hopeful possibilities. There is more to being recruited beyond having one good game. Usually the process involves a special sports resume, application forms, strong reference from a coach and then, if you’re a strong candidate, a scout will come by and watch you play. It’s a tough process and it can get tougher, depending on the competition.
Scholarships are the next big perk. The Canadian scholarships can vary greatly from school to school depending on what province you are in. In Canada, a governing body called the Canadian Interuniversity Sport controls University sport and their job is to put limits on the amounts of scholarships dollars that can be offered to entice students to attend the University. It is then up to the University to determine if they will offer scholarship rewards at all – Ontario for example, does not reward with athletic scholarships. By contrast, in America, scholarships can cover all University or College costs plus living expenses. In a country where tuition fees are very high, competition to be recruited by a top-level university or college is fierce in America. There are even books written on the subject. .
Like any good thing, there are rules to scholarships and recruitments. To play on any University or College team, Canadian or American, there are almost always grade level minimums that must be held by all players. Generally there is a minimum course load that a player must also be registered for. The University is usually pretty strict on these facts and if there are any major changes in course load or if a players grades fall below the minimum, players can be cut and scholarships removed. To be scouted is an honour and a great responsibility and those who generally go for it, want it bad.
It’s a lot of pressure but the pay off is often worth it. If I were a jock, I’d probably be in a tizzy right now too. But I’m not so I’ll just enjoy the buzz.