Question for hirers about college athletics

banjo

A friend's child is contemplating quitting her college varsity sport. If she does, she would have played for three of the four years. She has been advised, though, that doing so would would look bad to potential employers and headhunters, as it would come off as not following through on a commitment. Is this the case? I would have thought that, as long as an athlete gives enough notice that the coach can plan accordingly for the team, it wouldn't be a problem.


Roberto

depends on the reason.  due to injury or just can’t handle along with coursework.  if the latter, yeah could look bad.


j r

Assuming she isn't pursuing a career in her sport, being able to explain to a recruiter how she reached a difficult decision in a thoughtful way could be an opportunity to show maturity and insight. That's not the same as quitting.


banjo

Definitely not pursuing a career in the sport. Her academic interests have shifted a bit and she's finding it difficult to do what she wants academically because of the constraints of the athletic schedule. But also perhaps is not feeling the same joy from the sport as previously. 

Stopping because of an injury is an easy explanation, but this one would be more nuanced. I agree that a thoughtful explanation should be good. I hate to think of a kid continuing with that kind of schedule just so she can say she did. 

If it is an issue, as the first responder above agrees, this is something high school advisors should mention to kids thinking about pursuing athletics in college!


yahooyahoo

Who advised her that it would look bad?

If I'm hiring someone out of college, I want to know what qualifications that have that are related directly to the job.  Athletics are not going to matter.  The fact they played 4 years versus 3 or 2 years is not making them more qualified.  If they don't get a job because they quit playing a sport, I would question the quality of the company making the hire.



Klinker

I've hired a fair number of people over the years for various companies and I can tell you that  the subject of college athletics was never raised.


sprout

Perhaps it depends on what field she's entering. 

If she had on her resume that she played Varsity sport X from 2017-2019, and graduated in 2020, I wouldn't give it a second thought. I would be far more interested about any extracurriculars / school / work experience related to our field.

It may also be more valuable for her to evaluate her options around future work/graduate degrees by seeking out an undergraduate research assistantship or other opportunities related to her interests than to play a sport she does not intend to continue after college.


banjo

I think she is also pursuing things more directly related to her academic interests, but there is a lot to be gained (teamwork, discipline, leadership, etc.) from being part of a team. My understanding is that some employers, anyway, do consider being able to do that alongside the academics in a positive light. She's already on the team, so the question is about quitting (or stopping, to be less negative), not about not doing it in the first place. 


Klinker
banjo said:
My understanding is that some employers, anyway, do consider being able to do that alongside the academics.  

Weird. I suppose anything is possible but, outside the context of cronyism, that is hard for me to imagine.


bella
Klinker said:


banjo said:
My understanding is that some employers, anyway, do consider being able to do that alongside the academics.  
Weird. I suppose anything is possible but, outside the context of cronyism, that is hard for me to imagine.

 As a recruiting manager for a bank, I can tell you that some people ascribe all sorts of wonderful attributes to people who played team sports.  In my experience, it's always the people who played team sports themselves who feel this way.


banjo

Haha! That's hilarious. Not being in that kind of profession, I hadn't realized it was valued. But maybe it is an insiders' club of sorts.


Roberto

I “should of” added also that it depends on the school, sport and intended field.  As the above person stated, in some fields, college sports are highly touted, and sometimes to a nauseating degree.  


Klinker
bella said:


Klinker said:

banjo said:
My understanding is that some employers, anyway, do consider being able to do that alongside the academics.  
Weird. I suppose anything is possible but, outside the context of cronyism, that is hard for me to imagine.
 As a recruiting manager for a bank, I can tell you that some people ascribe all sorts of wonderful attributes to people who played team sports.  In my experience, it's always the people who played team sports themselves who feel this way.

 My High School Principal was hired entirely (as far as I could see) based in his experience as the star player on our High School football team and at the local college.  That was not a good thing......


banjo
Robert_Casotto said:
I “should of” added also that it depends on the school, sport and intended field.  As the above person stated, in some fields, college sports are highly touted, and sometimes to a nauseating degree.  

 I'm curious whether this applies to both genders.


sportsnut

As someone who loves sports and hires a lot of college grads, it is my opinion that someone who played sports in college is more of a conversation piece than anything else.  And it's only cool to me because I played a lot of team sports.  

The fact that this person recognized that it was getting in the way of academics means more to me than "quitting."  As someone who played right up until college and had the chance to play in college it was a tough decision to pursue academics over something I did just about every day for 14 straight years and not one that was easy to make at that age.  But I had parents who convinced me to be realistic and pursue an education at a better school rather than play baseball with a small scholarship at a academically less challenging university.

I think that if this person decided to "quit" it was likely a decision that was done with much thought and that takes a level of maturity.  Of course I think there is much to be gained by participating in team sports but to me there is a big difference between making a commitment then backing out mid year vs. arriving at the decision before the season starts and notifying the proper people. 

I don't think it looks bad at all.  To me its even worse if the person's GPA suffered because of sports participation. 


Eric

Being a team player always gained an extra point when I was hiring someone. It wasn't about being good at a specific sport, it was about being able to work and play well with others.  In today's world of email, text, and video games, showing me that you can socialize in person and not just electronically says a lot. 


If she had to choose between her grades suffering and playing another year, and she chose academics.... I would give her points for prioritizing.  But I would also know she is capable of being a team player.  


I guess it all depends on the field and employer.


banjo

This is all helpful. Thank you!


j r

There is a natural gear-shift that happens when recruiters arrive on campus and post-grad life looms. College sports are excellent discipline but most people aren't professional athletes. They leverage the experience to be great at other things. (Full disclosure: I shifted away from a D1 team freshman year to stop missing stuff.)


campbell29

If he/she is not planning a professional sports career, I don’t think it’s relevant.  Playing a college sport not only demands an incredible amount of time away from pursuing their academic goals, and their social lives. Anyone who plays a collegiate sport has already shown an incredible amount of discipline and work ethic.  


My kid is in middle school and already has sports practice year round for 20 hours a week.  He has already told me he has no interest in getting a scholarship or doing this in college because he knows how much time it takes and studying will be his priority.


j r

Signs that the times may be changing: 

May 2013, The Atlantic: Wall Street Remains Occupied by Lacrosse Bros ("Which sport, you may wonder, best suits players to trade derivatives or devise credit default swaps? No outlet has given greater thought to this question than Bloomberg News, as evidenced by a curious trend item, published on Thursday, about the preponderance of college lacrosse players in the financial industry.")

May 2017, Wall Street Journal: Wall Street's Endangered Species: The College Jock ("For decades, banks and brokers stocked trading floors with collegiate athletes. These days, ex-jocks are getting sidelined by machines; ‘It’s all going electronic’")


tjohn

If I interviewed a person, it would impress me if they played a varsity sport in college and earned good grades in a non-fluffy major.  That speaks to focus and discipline.  However, a person can impress in any number of other ways.


banjo

The whole subject is interesting to me because, not having been a college athlete and not having understood at the time what a huge commitment it is, it wouldn't previously have occurred to me, should my child come to the same decision, that there would be reason to question it. 

As for the articles cited above, this is why I was asking the question about gender. We're not talking lax bros here!


bella

I've always been more impressed by someone who worked through college rather than someone who played sports. 

In order to be a college athlete, you have to have a certain level of natural aptitude (yes, yes, I know, practice and all that, but if you've got two left feet or have interests in other pursuits, where does that leave you?) and one should not be dinged for not having that.



Roberto

College Athletics is work.  Especially if it’s via scholarship.


banjo

I have been very impressed by the college athletes I know (having been pretty cynical about college athletics previously). The natural aptitude is the least of it.


tjohn
banjo said:
I have been very impressed by the college athletes I know (having been pretty cynical about college athletics previously). The natural aptitude is the least of it.

 The attributes you need to be a college athlete make a person stand out in the crowd.  It's like John Wooden said - something to the effect that "sport doesn't build character, it reveals it."


tjohn
Robert_Casotto said:
College Athletics is work.  Especially if it’s via scholarship.

 It's the same amount of work without a scholarship.




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