There are four realities playing out as a result of the pandemic:  collegiate sports are being cut,  college sports are being canceled or suspended  many collegiate sports are evaluating their negative athletic budgets, and  HOPEFULLY students are understanding the importance of focusing on academic success more than athletic success.
Some colleges are cutting sports.
As a result of the coronavirus impact on college athletics, Stanford University announced (July 8) they are cutting 11 varsity sports after the end of the 2021 academic year. Among the understandable considerations, there were only two Division 1 field hockey and fencing programs on the West Coast. To their credit, Stanford supported 36 varsity sports, while the average Division I athletics program sponsored 18.
Currently, 80 programs have been cut across all college divisions. Most are small team sports. To abide by Title IX rules, men’s teams may be the first to be cut.
Some colleges are canceling sports (just for the fall).
In the first move among Division I universities, the Council of Ivy League Presidents announced (July 8) they are suspending all intercollegiate athletics for fall 2020. Practice will be allowed if students abide by college and state guidelines.
Of note, the only Ivy League sport that does not participate in the postseason is football. I don’t think this decision will affect other football programs. As of today, the Texas vs. OU, Army vs. Navy, and Alabama vs. Auburn games are still on!
The Division II Morehouse College Maroon Tigers announced (June 26) that they will not participate in football or cross country during the fall semester. They will honor all athletic scholarship awards.
On July 7, the Centennial Conference (Division III) “decided to suspend any inter-collegiate competition for sports scheduled for the fall semester.”
Some colleges are laying off coaches.
Sports Illustrated reported that Youngstown State will cut 20 coaches with others taking pay cuts but will not eliminate any sports programs.
Stanford will lose 22 coaches.
Some colleges are cutting scholarships.
UConn announced (June 24) they are cutting some scholarships and eliminating four sports.
Combined the UConn men's tennis, men's swimming/diving, men's track and cross country, and women's rowing had revenues of $403,000 and expenditures of $4,169,000 (only 10.3% of the expenditures is covered by revenues). Of course, at public universities, taxpayers fill the gaps.
It is devastating.
Colleges athletic departments want to offer competitive sports for their alumni, avid fans, to advertise their college, and recruit potential students. They also want to make money.
Collegiate athletes want to compete at a higher level. They want to prepare for a career in sports. They want to represent their country at the Olympics.
Collegiate coaches want to coach at a higher level. They want to train athletes to be better men, women, and citizens. Now many, along with their staff, will lose their jobs if not reassigned.
The timing of these decisions significantly impacts incoming freshman and current students on teams being cut. They won’t have time to transfer or consider other options. It’s coming at them too quick.
How Will You Respond
While some colleges will be faced with the decision to eliminate certain programs, others will benefit from the increased pool of talent looking to join competitive programs.
I believe the timing gives rising seniors a chance to scan the college landscape to find other athletic programs. They may have to step up their game to be more competitive, on and off the field, since more athletes will be looking for fewer spots on rosters.
With college budgets being cut (especially public institutions) and athletic scholarships being cut, all future student-athletes need to understand the importance of earning high grades to earn merit aid (the best way to pay for college) and private college scholarships.
What steps are you taking to prepare to compete in college in the sport of your choice?
What steps are you taking to prepare to complete college with a bachelor’s degree?
Take time to research your chances of playing college sports (I can help you with this research!), which colleges to apply to for academics and athletics, earning scholarships, and the total cost of attendance.
How Will You Mentally Prepare
Once you recognize and accept the challenges that are between you and your athletic goals, you need to prepare mentally. Mental health will improve your physical health.
The best way to mentally prepare is to sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to depression, stress, anxiety and affects how you see and interact with the world around you.
One way to prepare is to attend mental health webinars with speakers like Bryn Dresher (Twitter, Instagram), who recently spoke with the Online Youth Empowerment Academy community. In a very simple, yet impactful way, she helped student athletes (and their parents) discover belief systems that were holding them back and aught them how to develop a winning mindset where anything can be realized and accomplished.
Another way is to pray. While praying will never guarantee a win, it will provide a path to victory in your life (on and off the field).
As you pursue your higher calling, whatever you do, whatever you play, whatever you study, work at it with all your heart.
So yes, you should work on your test scores with the same dedication as your tennis strokes.
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.