By: Connor Hall
Student athletes often struggle with the dilemma of playing more than one sport. In high school this is normal, and many student athletes try to stay in shape year round by picking up a second sport to compete in. This is a great, proactive step on behalf of the student- athlete, but it is important to remember that academics should be any student athlete’s top priority while in high school. College coaches will never considering recruiting an athlete who is not academically qualified for their school. Therefore, it is important to prioritize time appropriately, and realize when the pressure of two sports is becoming too much. For student athletes who are able to balance two sports and their academics at the same time, this is a great strategy; however, it can become complicated when moving on into the recruiting process.
First of all, college coaches love to recruit multi-sport athletes. They think of it as getting more athletic skills for the same amount of recruiting dollars. However, most likely the student athletes will need to choose a preferred sport at some point. When making this critical decision, there are two factors that the student athlete must consider, skill level and love of the sport. An athlete may be more technically skilled as a baseball player, but he may live for the game of football. Multi-sport athletes must weigh both of these factors in order choose the sport that they will ultimately be the most happy competing in.
Most Division I programs will not allow student athletes to compete in more than one sport at the college level. They believe that juggling two sports schedules and a rigorous academic class load will prove to be overwhelming, and in most cases they are correct. It is extremely difficult to compete in one Division I athletic program, while maintaining your grades at the same time. It is nearly impossible to achieve this balance while competing in two Division I programs.
If a student athlete is set on playing more than one sport at the collegiate level, and they have the skill set to do so, there are some options available to them. Competing at the Division II, Division III, or NAIA level may give them the ability to continue to play both sports. While the athletic commitment may not be as intense in one of these programs, the academic commitment most likely will be. For this reason, it is important to keep in mind that education should be any collegiate athlete’s top priority.