America’s educational system has lots of problems. Among the many struggles is the disconnect parents have when it comes to being honest about the belief of what matters most: academics or athletics. Despite the reality that approximately only two percent of college athletes play professional sports, many parents appear content being lethargic educational spectators and overindulgent youth sports participation consumers.
We eagerly give away precious amounts of time and wastefully dispense with hard earned money so that we can consume something that is highly unlikely to pay a dividend. According to USA Today, “Nearly 20% of U.S. families spend more than $12,000 a year, or $1,000 per month, on youth sports, per child”. Conversely, per MarketWatch, “On average, parents in the U.S. shell out $58,464 on their child’s education from primary school through the end of undergraduate studies at university.”
In the event you struggle with math like most of our children this means that 20% or more of American families spend no less than $144,000 from first grade through twelfth grade chasing a professional sports dream. Stated another way, parents spend $85,356 more on sports from K-12 than we spend on our children’s entire education from first grade through college graduation.
Going Pro in Something Other Than Sports
Even the image beleaguered NCAA acknowledges the improbable likelihood a child will play professional sports. For years, the NCAA has proclaimed in their advertisements that most of NCAA athletes will “go pro in something other than sports”. In fact, the NCAA purports that the number of athletes who will go pro is approximately 2%.
I wish the professional sports leagues that drive youth sports participation would offer an announcement like the NCAAs. Imagine if the NBA, NFL, and MLB had to offer a warning or disclaimer about the potential waste of the money that was going to be spent on youth league fees, private youth coaching, state of the art sports gear, and the like.
Think about the improved state of America’s educational system if parents were advised that for every 1,860 high school basketball players only 1 will play in the NBA, for every 603 high school football players only 1 will play in the NFL, and for every 764 high school baseball players only 1 will play in the MLB. I suspect if parents truly understood their child’s professional sports chances and were advised of the exceptional non-sport occupational alternatives, we would invest more time and money into our children’s education and investigate professions for our children that provided employment odds that were much better than 0.05% (NBA), 0.16% (NFL), and 0.13% (MLB).
Going Pro in Sports Ownership
Routinely, Ivy League schools have the lowest college acceptance rates. For the class of 2022, the average acceptance rate of the eight Ivy League Schools was 7%. However, even the meager Ivy League acceptance rate is more than three times higher than are a child’s chance of going pro in a sport.
Speaking of going pro in something other than sports, consider this. The average graduation rate of students who attend an Ivy League school is 95.42%. And the median annual earnings for Ivy League alums 10 years after graduating amount to well over two times the annual earning for graduates at all other schools.
One more point of note, children who attend an Ivy League school are more likely than any other group of children to own a professional sports team. Of the 122 sports franchise owners, 26 attended an Ivy League institution. Again, for the math challenged, the odds of owning a sports franchise if you attended an Ivy League school is 21.3%.
Numbers Don’t Lie, Parents Do
I’m not going to lie to you, providing a child with the type of education that makes them a qualified candidate for an Ivy League school and then a potential sports franchise owner won’t be easy but the odds of doing so are still much better than trying to get them on an NBA, NFL, or MLB roster. If you are serious about your child’s education, it’s imperative that you also stop lying to yourself. Instead of lying do the math below:
- Calculate the amount of time spent your child spends practicing and compare it to the amount of time they spend outside of classroom mastering reading, writing, math, and science;
- Calculate the amount of money you spent on league fees, training, coaching, camps, clinics, gear, etc. and compare it to the amount of money spent on professional tutors, academic coaches, educational summer camps, and the like;
- Analyze your child’s grades against national and international academic standards and development measurements per an outside independent organization because too often local academic performance is vague and biased; and
- Study in detail the educational and career path that the owner of your child’s favorite sports franchise took.
The choice is yours: truth or lies. Like I said, I’m not going to lie to you and I hope that at the very least you won’t lie to yourself. We can keep pretending we value education more than athletics or we can start spending our time and money to increase the odds of providing greater lifetime opportunities for our children.
This post was originally published on RaisingSupaman.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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