I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day about where he would send his son to school if he were a star athlete. After much deliberation he decided he would send his son to the school with the best overall academic rating. "There's no guarantee he would go pro and he needs a good education to fall back on." While the argument makes perfect sense for athletes in general it flawed logic for star athletes.
Star athletes should make their decision based on an entirely different set of circumstances. NO star athlete attends a university because of the academic curriculum. It is with the intent to maximize their abilities, perfect their skill set, and increase their earning potential. It's naive to think that education is an integral part of the equation. Here's a list of the 5 things a star athlete should look for when picking a school.
1. The system. If you're a sure handed wide receiver you don't want to go to a school where they run the power eye or the wishbone offense. If you're 6'9 with exceptional post moves you don't want to go to a school that's all about jacking up 3's 40 times a game. The system matters.
2. The coaches. Some coaches sell you dreams like a used car salesman. Some coaches run their program like the sergeant in Full Metal Jacket. Some coaches have you pick out your favorite cheerleader before the season even starts. You have to find a coach that meshes with your personality and will bring out the best in you.
3. Exposure. Star athletes want to be on TV as much as possible to showcase their talents in front of millions of people and gain name recognition.
4. Geography. Kids that have strong family ties typically choose a school in close proximity to their loved ones so they can be close to home and their family can attend most of their games.
5. Opportunity. Do you want to sit behind Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart? Do you want to wait your turn behind Damon Stoudamire and Mike Bibby? Are you in the plans or are you an insurance policy? If you don't have a realistic chance to play it's probably not the best environment for you.