Athletes Talk College

Bella Herring, Writer

After putting in years of practice and sacrifice, many high school athletes prepare to play in college only to eventually face the harsh reality that they are not good enough. Out of all high school athletes, only 7 percent go on to play in college, according to NCAA research. Despite the odds, several Bryant athletes have committed to play in college.

According to NCAA research, the chances of playing college softball are only 8.3 percent. There is only a 1.6 percent chance of playing Division I. Despite these odds, senior Meagan Chism committed to play softball at the University of Memphis in her freshman year of high school. Like most athletes, Chism always dreamed of continuing her sport in college.

“I knew that I wanted to play college ball around 14 and under,” Chism said. “I started trying to get recruited when I was about 10 or 11 years old.”

The recruiting process differs for every athlete. Some athletes can verbally commit as early as middle school, while some do not commit until their senior year of high school.

Now committed to the University of Central Arkansas for track and field, senior Deborah Shaw began the recruiting process at the end of her junior year, and her experience was an emotional roller coaster.

“The whole time, I was scared that no college wanted me, and that I wasn’t good enough,” Shaw said. “It was just a really stressful experience.”

Although their dreams are coming true, there are still a lot of nerves that come with playing at the next level. Between keeping up with grades and satisfying their coaches, being a college athlete can be nerve-wracking, bringing a lot of unwanted pressure.

“I feel like the most stressful part is wondering if I’m going to place in anything, or if I am going to be any good,” Shaw said. “I think I’m just scared that I’m going to suck.”

For some athletes, the reality of going to play college sports does not hit until the day they sign their National Letter of Intent. The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a document that indicates a student athlete’s commitment to participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Signing day is a big deal for most athletes going on to play in college, and it is often celebrated by friends and family, too.

Now committed to play softball at Frontier Community College, senior Aly Bowers signed her NLI Dec. 3.

“I was really excited [to sign],” Bowers said. “It’s a really big deal, so I was nervous, but it’s a big step for my future.”