This morning, a poster with the handle “OldestRUFan” on ScarletReport.com authored a post that is tremendously thought-provoking and insightful as it relates to the recruiting process. As I read this wonderful post, I felt that it could not be held within the confines of ScarletReport. It had to be shared because it gives such a depth of content, not only for recruits, but for all young people who are deciding upon which college to choose to attend. While OldestRUFan is addressing his post to several prospective recruits that RU has offered for 2011, this post can, and should be, for everyone.
To: Miles Shuler, Angelo Mangiro, Savon Huggins and hundreds of 17 year olds who are trying to decide which college to attend. You are all very lucky to have a chance to get a college education and to have a choice of schools.
All the advice you are now receiving daily can make this choice confusing and pressure packed. It really doesn’t have to be. You can simplify this decision.
FIRST… The reason you want to go to college is to get an education, to learn, to improve your analytical skills, to gain knowledge that will improve your judgment and confidence for the rest of your life. Education will improve your enjoyment of life. Think education, not just football.
… List the colleges that offer you a scholarship and identify those that offer you the best educational opportunity. When you do this, you will quickly have only one or two colleges on your list. Think education opportunity first, then consider the football aspects of the few schools left. The college’s football reputation will not be nearly as important to you years from now as its’ educational value.
SECOND… Football is probably all you’re thinking about now and football probably will be important to you for the next 5 or 6 years…maybe even 10 more years. But after that, your success in life will depend more on your academic achievement than on your athletic skills. This might be hard for you to see at 17, but young man, I am more than 60 years older than you and in the last 55 years, no one has asked me to play football or wrestle. Instead, I am asked most every day for my views on the economy, politics, history, social issues, etc. Your choice of a college is a lot more than a football decision. By the way all the schools on your list have good football teams and good coaches.
So, lets look at the factors that are important to your future, both education and football. What should you consider in your choice? Everyone will have different consideration, might I suggest the following:
A. Do football players at the school get a good education?
… What is the graduation rate?
… Does the coach help you study? Does he make it easy to study?
… Does the coach emphasize your education?
B. The head coach is important.
…Will he be the head coach in 5 or 6 years when you are a senior? (There is no way to know this, but what is your objective guess? Of the 120 some D1 football school only 17 have head coaches who have been there for ten years. Even Bobby Bowden who coached at Florida State for 34 years was replaced last year because he was too old. He was 80 and had only one losing season in over 40 years of coaching. He was too old.
…A new head coach can have a huge effect on your college football career. He will bring in new relationships with you, new assistant coaches, new offense and defense systems.
C. Are there discipline problems among the players, arrests, fights, etc.? What is the turnover of players? Get a list of the incoming football player who graduated from high school in 2008. How many are still on the team right now?
D. If you get hurt in your last year of high school or while you are in college and can not play anymore, will the school continue to honor your scholarship? Ask your mother to ask this question of the coach.
E. Do you and your family really feel at home and comfortable at the college today? Today’s comfortable feeling is a better judge than what you dream you might feel later. Does your mother trust the coach?
F. Are you and your family comfortable with the location/access to the school? Do you want your family and friends to easily and affordably be able to get to see you play? Can you get home quickly and easily should you have to? Can they get to you easily and affordably?
G. Why are people advising you and suggesting which school you should pick? Most men and most of your friends want you to pick “their” favorite college football team. Use your own good judgment and probably your mother. She is perhaps the only one who really wants you to do the RIGHT thing. The others are biased.
If you answer the above as objectively as possible, your choice is probably over and it is time to commit so you can tell the other schools you have chosen, thank them, but ask them to stop calling and writing you as you now want to concentrate on studying in high school and on your high school football season.
A PERSONAL NOTE:
I too was 17 once. I was in high school in the 1940’s in a football crazy coal mining town in Pennsylvania. Football occupied most of my thinking. I had to have a scholarship in order to go to college. Penn State and Rutgers both offered me one. I chose Rutgers because it was academically superior according to everyone advising me. It was the correct choice for me. Since graduating from Rutgers, I have worked or lived in all 50 states and have traveled to 109 countries. Everywhere, every time, it becomes known that I graduated from Rutgers, it makes a very positive impression, still today.
Near the end of my working career, I received the major award at a banquet in Las Vegas in front of 7,500 attendees. The person introducing me said: “…He graduated from a PRESTIGIOUS northeastern university…” If I had graduated from any of the D1 schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, etc., I do not believe the introduction would have included the word “prestigious”.
When you pick Rutgers and study hard, you can carry the honor of a Rutgers education with you forever which will help you achieve your goals. With the football skills you have, you’ll also have a opportunity to help and be part of it when Rutgers competes for the National Football Championship in 3, 4, or 5 years from now. It looks like a win-win to me.
But, obviously my advice is biased too. Listen to your mother and use your own good judgment… not those who only think of football. It’s your life young man and God willing. you will live another 80 years after you stop playing football. It is important for you to prepare now for your complete life after the next five years. Get a good education and people will probably still be cheering for you 80 years from now.
Good luck son. You have been very lucky so far. Keep it going.