Scandal Highlights the Great Value of Athletics

Maybe people won’t look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them about the time, dedication and money that you spend playing, competing, training, working, day-in and day-out.

I was shocked by how much money people were willing to pay to get their kids into some of these universities. $250,000 here, $500,000 there. Most people I speak to about the college admissions scandal are disgusted with how these people tried to use their money and power to manipulate the system.

But then it hit me. These are the extraordinary amounts of cash and elaborate schemes just to get what high-level athletes have. The consultants and their parents (allegedly) bribed college coaches and paid people to create fake athlete profiles for their children to gain a backdoor entry into schools.

People are willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get what great athletes have. Let that sink in for a little bit… Parents are willing to throw six-figures to get what you have. Maybe people won’t look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them about the time, dedication and money that you spend playing, competing, training, working, day-in and day-out.

Scholarships are the dream, but look at how valuable admission to good universities can be. Earning a roster spot can grant you an extraordinary opportunity for an education at a school with a good name. There’s a chance to learn, get trained for a career, make great friends and join a family of alumni who can help you with your future career. And for schools with strong alumni networks, that does happen.

These parents seemed to have plenty of money and they may have wanted nothing more than bragging rights and parties of the rich and famous. These kids would probably get by living off mommy and daddy’s money. But don’t take for granted the power and value of a student-athlete with the chance to EARN their spot at a university.

D3 College Profile: School in NYC!

“You have New York City at your fingertips. The resources are limitless.”

“You have New York City at your fingertips. The resources are limitless,” says NYU Softball Head Coach Now-Allah James.  Life in the big city is not for everyone.  But if you like the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple and all it has to offer, NYU could be a great school for you!

Academics is the focus of the program and NYU is a very selective school for grades and test scores.

Coach Now-Allah James also reminds people that the new rules haven’t really changed anything for recruiting on his team as Division 3 coaches are free to talk to students as they wish.

Be Realistic About Scholarships

Many people would love to have a “full-ride” scholarship to college.  But with large roster sizes and limited numbers of scholarships for each team, that can be difficult for most.

Boston College Assistant Softball Coach Megan Brown talks about how families should consider their own situation with scholarships and finances.


Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself before Your Daughter Plays Travel Ball

SDSU Recruit – “When I Walked on Campus, I knew this is where I wanted to be” 

See it, and then try it – UC Santa Barbara Coach on How to Watch Softball on TV

Division III Softball Can Be a Great Experience

Coach Judy Gabriel says many players will end up playing Division II or III.  She believes many people don’t consider it because they just don’t have enough information about those schools.  She made the comments at a combined camp with Harvard University and Macalester College at Aurora Sports Park during the TCS Colorado Sparkler College Camp Sunday.

Watch this video for what she has to say about playing and being a student at Macalester College.


College Profile:  Northwestern University’s Coach wants you to be bold and courageous

New Rules Help Yale, Ivy League Schools

Harvard: Pursuing Excellence in Academics and Softball

My Favorite CO Sparkler Memories

Janie Takeda-Reed was at Christopher Fields in Denver warming up for the Scrap Yard Fastpitch game.  The former Oregon and current Team USA Outfielder shared her best memories about being in Colorado for the Sparkler/Fireworks Tournament.

They weren’t about what happened on the softball field!

Let’s Make Showcasing More Affordable

It’s imperative that we not allow parents to stress financially

We caught up with Firecrackers President Tony Rico at the 2018 Colorado Sparkler.  He’s in the process of making changes in his organization that he hopes will help the sport of softball in the future.  One of his objectives is to make it less expensive for families to showcase and develop their kid s.

For many parents, that will come as a great relief at a time when many organizations are asking for more money.  Here’s why he and some of his colleagues are moving in that direction.


Travel Ball Travel Tip: A Quick Way to Earn Free Flights

Travel Ball Eats: You had me at Churro Ice Cream Sandwich

New Rules Help Yale, Ivy League Schools

“Change your life with the education you can get”

Yale Softball’s Head Coach talks about how the new rules help her recruiting.  She also reveals what her school needs to see before they commit players to the softball team.



See also:

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 1.43.19 PM      Harvard Softball’s Jenny Allard talks about the players she recruits to her program

NU Thumbnail  College Profile:  Northwestern University’s Kate Drohan wants players to be  bold and courageous.

Carol Hutchins    Michigan’s Coach Carol Hutchins: Standing out above the rest

My Transition from Travel to College Softball

Freshman Lou Allan tells us how she handled her first year at Michigan

Michigan Freshman Alexis “Lou” Allan has had a bit of a roller coaster year.  She was sidelined for an injury but when she came back, was able to contribute to her team.  We caught up with her shortly after she was named Freshman of the Week in April 2018 when she:

• Batted .429 with a .556 on-base percentage and a 1.429 slugging percentage, including two home runs and four RBI last weekend in No. 17/16 Michigan’s three-game sweep at Big Ten foe Penn State
• Hit her first collegiate home run in the series opener
• Followed that up with a two-run home run in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game, breaking a scoreless tie
• Earned her first career Freshman of the Week honor
• Last Michigan Freshman of the Week: Meghan Beaubien (April 2, 2018)

Here’s what she had to say about her first year in college.

“When I Walked on Campus, I knew this is where I wanted to be”

   High School Senior Paige Barth shares her recruiting story.

Senior Paige Barth is headed to San Diego State University this fall.  The utility player who is a Utility Player and plays for Firecrackers Brashear in Southern California, talked about her recruiting experience.


New NCAA Rules Take Effect

The NCAA confirms that new rules restricting recruiting conversations are now in effect. Their confirmation comes after the conclusion of the Division I Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Effective immediately will are provisions to ban recruiting before a Prospective Student-Athlete’s (PSA) junior year of high school and restrictions on game tickets.

Rules that move forward official visits to the PSA’s Junior year take effect on August 1, according to Michelle Hosick of the NCAA.

The move is designed to bring an end to colleges recruiting young men and women, some as early as the 6th grade.

What do you think of the new rules?  Take our poll

What comes next for softball and many other sports is unknown but we can look to lacrosse as an example.  The sport enacted similar recruiting rules last year. 

Lakeshore Lacrosse based in the Chicago Metropolitan Area said the changes made things easier on kids and parents.  “There is more time and less pressure because they have 1-2 years of grades and classes to help guide their college search which is much more than earlier,” said Michelle Sebastian, Director of Coaching.

Sebastion said her club didn’t see any switching of commitments in players.  The new rules also afforded recruiters time to better assess players after competing in high school and club.

And she said there’s not drop-off in interest in the sport.  “Their summers aren’t as full at such an early age trying to visit schools every weekend,” said Sebastion.

One of the most interesting developments after the rule changes was the increase in switched commitments.  This is where students had originally committed to a school and then switched to a different school.  “Because it was less worth while to watch the younger recruits, coaches refocused on 2018’s and started poaching committed players”, said Terry Foy, Publisher at Inside Lacrosse.  Foy said with 71 D1 men’s lacrosse programs and roughly 700 players, 55 prospective student athletes switched their commitments.

NCAA rules were changed in April of 2017 and the full effects with data may not be felt until the next few years.  But in conversations with families, Foy said parents were relieved.  “The burden was lifted off parents on how much they needed to travel going into their freshman year… especially for families with multiple kids,” he said.   Foy pointed out that 9th grade lacrosse players stopped attending the large club team tournaments because they started associating with the younger age groups.

Foy believes this was a good process for college coaches and administrators to come together in an organized way and do what many believed was best for the sport.  “Being able execute the process was great for lacrosse,” said Fox.

Softball Nation called numerous Lacrosse Coaches and organizations on the East Coast, Midwest and Southern California but calls were not returned.

On a more personal level, Alex Walling, a 2019 women’s lacrosse player said she feels it’s a race to get recruited since the beginning of her junior year.  “I feel rushed because before the rule change, college coaches tried to recruit as many girls in my grade as possible,” said Alex.  “And now it’s a rush to find colleges that haven’t closed their 2019 recruiting class.”

Her father, Steve said they received an offer from school before the recruiting rules took effect last year, but it wasn’t the right school for his daughter.  “I wonder how much money I would have saved traveling around the country going to all these tournaments if we committed then,” he said.