September is the start of the high school sports year and while most athletes have little or no aspirations to compete after graduation there are many who clearly hope to play on the college level.

A good portion of them are realistic about their abilities which is more than you can say for some of their parents who are usually the worst judges of athletic talent when it comes to their own son or daughter.

After some 40 years of covering sports I remain somewhat amazed at the number of parents who expect their child to land a college scholarship. There was a time when this was pretty much limited to high school seniors but believe me when I say this growing epidemic now starts shortly after little Noah or Emma first shows any ability on a field or court.

With college costs spiraling out of control landing that scholarship is like hitting the lottery for most families but honestly you might have a better chance of winning the lottery then watching your son or daughter sign a national letter of intent.

By the way during the course of the school year our Shore Sports Network is contacted by dozens of parents who want to announce and publicize the fact their child has received an athletic scholarship.  The impression they give us is that after considering many options their son or daughter has signed with (fill in the blank) and we should promote this.

We are led to believe it’s a full athletic scholarship which could easily be worth $200,000 but in most cases we are talking about a partial scholarship that might only cover a small percentage of costs.

Let’s be honest. Most high school athletes will never play at the college level.  According to the NCAA a little less than 6% of high school soccer, football and baseball players will play in college and that number is reduced to 3% for basketball.  That’s not scholarship athletes but college athletes in general and only 2% of high school athletes will be awarded some college scholarship.

With numbers that small it would be logical to conclude that Noah or Emma have a better chance of getting scholarship money for academics than athletics.However in the world we live in there are no signing day ceremonies when someone receives a scholarship for what they’ve done in the classroom.

Wouldn’t it be great to cover one in which a high school valedictorian is sitting at a desk with the hats of 5 great academic institutions in front of him or her and with a drum roll picks up the one that says Princeton and puts in on their head while family and friends cheer wildly.

I don’t think ESPN will be covering that one any time soon.

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