The Hidden Benefits of College Sports

The intention of The Wire is two-fold. First, it is to educate student-athletes in order for them to make the most informed decisions regarding their futures. Second, it is to spread awareness about the Signing Day Sports platform and offerings that can help student-athletes find opportunities to play college sports. 

These two purposes lead to talking a whole lot about sports. Understandably so. But sports’ effect on people’s lives goes much deeper than what happens on the field. And the benefits of being able to go to a university to play a sport don’t begin and end with playing that sport.

What we haven’t discussed are the additional benefits provided by participation in collegiate athletics. When you commit to a school to play a sport, you’re still a student-athlete. The benefits that non-athlete college-goers experience are not lost on student-athletes. In fact, they may be enhanced. 

For once, let’s talk about these underappreciated, additional benefits that sports offer. 

The Coveted Degree

Alright, maybe this one won’t come as much of a surprise. Higher education is valuable for a number of reasons. Higher education is often synonymous with better quality occupations. The OECD has stated that those with university degrees carry a salary 57% higher than their counterparts.

It is highly encouraged by teachers, counselors, parents, and seemingly everybody for a reason. In fact, today, it seems like a prerequisite for many jobs to have a degree. 

By committing to play collegiate athletics, a recruit is being given the chance to obtain this degree. Oftentimes, it’s for free. Pretty cool, right? 

It’s clear to see how this is uniquely advantageous to student-athletes. It’s well-said that the time and effort required to obtain a degree is a worthwhile investment for any student-athletes’ future. 

Moving Away From Home

It’s generally agreed upon that experiencing new things is encouraged and beneficial to young people. Getting out of your comfort zone by moving away from your childhood home and town provides a culture-shock like no other. It is a great opportunity to become independent and self-sufficient. 

Being a collegiate student-athlete is a difficult experience that requires effective time-management skills, motivation, and of course the physical and mental prowess to stay the course. Choosing to take on this challenge speaks to one’s character and abilities to succeed outside of sport or higher education.

Being able to handle the day-to-day rigors of a student-athlete will give student-athletes the tools they need to succeed later in life when they may not have their coaches or teammates to fall back on. 

Meeting New, Unique People

You find them in class, you find them doing extracurricular activities, you find them on your team. It’s easy in college. Everybody’s in the same boat. 

For those who may have gotten too comfortable in the confines of their hometown, choosing to go away for college to embrace the idea of meeting new people is a game-changer. These opportunities are where your social skills are sharpened, and your personality takes shape as your brain wraps up its development. 

Many college grads say that the friendships and connections made throughout their years at university are some of the longest-lasting, most enriching relationships they’ve had. 

Being afforded this opportunity as a student-athlete is one of the best parts about competing in collegiate athletics. Looking back on their time in sports, retired athletes often reminisce most fondly on the time they were able to spend with the people they were closest to. 

Finding New Interests

As a young high school athlete, it’s common to feel like sports are all that matters. Your high school academics are merely an obstacle on the way to being able to compete athletically at a university. 

Once enrolled in school, however, it’s easy to find other things to take an interest in. And it may serve student-athletes well to do so. There are countless school subjects, clubs, organizations, and groups that encourage and foster student’s interest in a wide variety of things. 

Sports are not all that matters, in fact. Realistically, most collegiate athletes will not be able to make a career out of their sport, so it’s important to have other interests that can either become hobbies or a career path. 

Exposure and Experiences

The NCAA writes about the benefits of being a student-athlete on their website. Of course, many of them center around sports. But this benefit goes without saying: as an NCAA athlete, traveling and seeing new places is part of what you sign up for. 

As a student-athlete, you will travel around the country, and potentially the world, seeing new places and experiencing things you likely wouldn’t have otherwise. Opening yourself up to diverse places, people, and experiences can be an eye-opening, profound experience. 

Preparation for Life

By competing in college sports, student-athletes learn important skills, like leadership, time management and how to effectively work with others toward a common goal. Companies have specifically said that they seek to hire former student-athletes, and the majority of student-athletes say that participating in college sports prepares them for life after graduation.

It’s a hard task to compete on a college sports team – it essentially amounts to a full-time job. That, coupled with college courses, part-time jobs, the maintenance of a social life, and any other endeavors is a lot. Managing it would appear Herculean. Companies agree.

If you can succeed in collegiate athletics, it speaks volumes about your readiness to enter into life after sports.

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