Student With Sports Scholarship Doesn't Want to Play?

Category Scholarships
Sports scholarships are awarded to many athletes, allowing them to attend college for little or no money in exchange for competing in collegiate athletic programs. Sometimes, a young student may change their mind about competing, which can cause financial hardship to both the parents and the student.
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February 18, 2010

I am a parent of a child that is currently in college and is almost done with his first year. In high school he was a football star. He was one of the best players in the state. He got a football scholarship to his University.

He is almost done with his first year of college football and I can tell he doesn't feel the same about football as he once did. He always complains about it and talks about going to school closer to home and not playing anymore.

I first thought he just missed living at home (which is normal), but during January they have time off from football and his mood was totally different during that month. He never came home or called much and when I would call him he would go on and on how much fun he is having and how great everything is.

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Now that February started and football meetings and workouts are going again he is coming home every weekend, and his attitude has totally changed.

I don't want him to quit, but he just looks unhappy when football is going on. He has been playing since 7th grade so he is going on his eighth year of playing football. For those eight years its been his life and I don't want to see him throw that all away to transfer to a college closer to home, but at least he would still be getting a degree.

However, football is what has defined him the past eight years. What should I do? Should I talk to him tell him I can tell he is unhappy and tell him it's okay to quit? Or should I tell him to tough it out? Maybe its time for him to move on, he has been doing it for a long time. At the same time it seems he would be throwing a lot away. Help?

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By Joseph from Spokane,WA

Answers

February 18, 20100 found this helpful

I went through a thing kind of like this when I was in college. I was in my 3rd year and realized that I didn't think I'd be happy working in my field of study. I lived with my parents (college was in the same town), so one night I sat up, wrote a heart-felt letter to them explaining my feelings and how miserable I was, and told them that I wanted to take time off. I was also very worried about disappointing them, which made me even unhappier. That was a long night. I cried a lot, and I left the letter on the kitchen table. We did a little talking that morning, but everyone had to get to work/school, so we spoke more that night. More crying.

Ultimately, they didn't want me to be miserable. Everything worked out in the end. I worked while living at home for a while. Moved away with my fiance, got married, worked for a doctor, became pregnant and quit working to be a stay at home mom. Now I volunteer at my daughter's school, and make/sell jewelry and cards. Is it some big fancy job? Nope. But I'm happy. We owe maybe $35K on our house, and that's all of our debt. I feel successful in life.

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If you think your son will be completely honest with you, I think you need a heart-to-heart. What's most important to him? What's most important to you? Some people want a certain job no matter what. Others want a certain salary no matter what. If you truly feel/believe that he needs to stay at his current college and keep with football, but he wants to stop football and/or change schools, maybe suggest a compromise. Encourage him to try for another year, and if he still feels the same, he can make the changes with your blessings. You're going to have to gauge how desperate he is and what is motivating him. Discuss your concerns, and listen to his. Maybe together you can come to a solution.

I hope this works out for all of you. I started college almost 20 years ago. I was so stressed when I realized how unhappy I was. I don't think I would have been better off to stick with what I was doing. Ultimately he's grown and can do whatever he wants (unless you're financing everything for him, then you have more leverage). He needs to be happy. Best of luck. I wish both of you happiness and success. Let us know how it goes!

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February 19, 20100 found this helpful

I agree that you need to get things out in the open, and find out why he dislikes football now. Is he just tired of it, or is there a problem in college that he didn't face when he was in HS?

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Either way, he needs to have a chance to talk things out, so he can decide what he wants to do with his remaining college years. There's a big difference between being a quitter, and knowing when to quit. The former is a bad trait, the latter is wisdom. If it would enrich his life to quit and pursue something else, then he definitely needs to take that path. Success in life is having a passion for your work, and it sounds as if he's lost his passion for football.

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February 19, 20100 found this helpful

I went to college and didn't quit my major because I thought I'd disappoint my family. I was so unhappy, but didn't know what to do because my major was all I knew. I'd say have an open, honest talk with your son. Let him know you love him no matter what he wants to do. There are other ways to get a college education. It may be a bit of an adjustment, but it can be done.

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Your son may not know who he is outside of football. You say it defined him for a long time. We all go through changes and find new things about ourselves - maybe that's what your son is doing. You sound like a great parent, and your son is so lucky to have you! I'd say he may be more worried about it that you are! A good, honest talk paired with support and love go a long way! Good luck to you, and do let us know how all is going!

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February 19, 20100 found this helpful

Oh my gosh! Talk to the young man. Your son is reaching out to you for something. I raised 2 boys and do they need to talk to parents or mentors! If he wont talk to you, call the school and speak to someone who can talk to him.
Parenting is difficult, and it never stops!

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