Dear Football Mom,
I’m a single mom, and this week I nearly lost it. I’m a wreck. My son doesn’t have one scholarship offer. Signing day is just weeks away. What do we do? How can I help my son, who has worked so hard throughout his high school years, to achieve a college football scholarship? Without financial help, I’m not sure he can attend college. I’m desperate. I’m not too proud to ask for help. Do you have any connections, any tricks in your bag, any tips to help us?
Oh dear, don’t fall apart. I’ve been in your shoes, and I know the panic button is at defcon two! Believe it or not, there is still time. Together, let’s see if we can bring this to a successful finish. But I will tell you this: no tricks, no bag, and no tips here. Maybe suggestions, but the tips I leave for those with PhDs.
Yes, you are right, the 2020 college signing day is February 5, and it’s coming like a rocket blast. Straight up though, I will tell you many players sign after signing day. So, don’t get flustered or go having a hissy fit. Let’s take it one-step at a time, and I hope this game plan of action might ease your worries right onto your son signing with his dream team. Keep in mind, sometimes you have to take the scenic route.
Have you talked to his high school coach? Try getting in touch with him immediately, and have an honest heart to heart about where your son might fit in with a college team. There could be a program that hasn’t known of your son and he’d fit in perfectly. He could be the answer they’re looking for. You never know if you don’t ask.
Make sure you have what you need at the drop of a hat, so you are equipped and loaded with the correct information, ready to send it lickety split to any coach asking for it. Or to take with you to any meetings you might set up … all the better. Things like highlight film, a copy of your son’s grades obtained from his high school’s counselor’s office. And, while you’re at it, get numerous copies. Maybe even his stats. These are topics you should cover in your conversation with his coach.
If any recruiters have called your home or sent emails or snail mail, call them now, pronto. Ask to speak to the recruiter for your area. Or, if you have the name of the coaches who did call, ask to speak to them directly. Also, engage them in conversation. Don’t show your desperation, but do let them know your concerns for your son if all opportunities with their program are closed. Then and only then—when the door is closed—ask about walking on and what their policy might be for new players who do just that. Remember, walking on could be an option. He could work his way to a scholarship next year with said team. But he will have to work and prove he deserves at least a fraction of the financial aid.
When you are talking to these coaches, ask them if they know of other coaches who might be looking for the talent/position of your son. By that, I mean to tell you, they all know each other. They, college coaches, are all jocking for a one up with each other. But on occasion, you’ll find a kind generous coach willing to go the distance and help. It never hurts to ask for a reference, and then go right ahead and ask them if they might be inclined to give them a call on your behalf. Make sure you write down who they said and their contact information.
For a coach to contact another coach in the interest of your son gives you leverage and a heads-up to the coach you are about to call. It sets a positive stage. You have to be a tad bold. I know, it can be intimidating in the all-male world of college football, but as I’ve always said, “You never G-E-T till you A-S-K.” And honey, you gotta ask away.
Also, contact any junior colleges in your area with a football program. Nothing wrong with starting at a junior college and transferring once his viability goes up.
Another thing to keep in mind, some states offer government funded money (grants) for academic achievements such as an average GPA of 3.00. Then again, if your son has an average 4.00, he’ll easily qualify for academic scholarships. Then, walking on should be a walk in the park. It’d be a good idea to check with his counselor’s office to find out more about these opportunities, anyway. Academic scholarships or any other county/community grants will allow y’all some time without you forking over tuition fees for the first semester. It’s worth checking out.
If all else fails and there truly isn’t a place—a program for him to land—please reach out to me again. Not that I can do a thing, or wave a magic wand, but I’m pulling for you, and I do give a hoot.
You don’t want to hear this—oh, you really don’t—but he could stay home the first semester, and get a job, save his money. But make sure he keeps a regime of working out somewhere. He might ask his coach if he can use the weight room, but he’ll also need someone to spot him. Maybe investing in a six-month gym membership might not be a bad idea. He doesn’t need to lose ground, and he needs to be ready to tackle the college field possibly next semester. You never know he could get a chance to walk on somewhere in the spring. It’s not what y’all want to have to do, but it is a solid plan.
I’m a strong believer in where there’s a will—there’s a way. When you work hard, put God first, and stay at it … good things do happen!
Dear Football Mom,
With the Super Bowl on everyone’s schedule, I’ve read sport reports of NFL players having service dogs on the sidelines to sooth their nerves. What do you think about that?
I think those NFL-ers need to go and open a dog pound. Bless their hearts.