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A sports scholarship? No Thanks!

As part of Assignment Detroit, is working with 11 high school students from the Detroit area. They come from all walks of life, from suburban prep schools to city schools both strong and weak. The project will illustrate the Detroit region from their point of view—what it's like to live there now, and whether the area has a place in their future or not. Today's post is from Rokeyta Roberson, a senior at Detroit's Renaissance High School.

On Feb 3, many top Detroit Public School athletes signed to the schools of their choice. From my high school, Detroit Renaissance, three athletes signed to Division I schools. Lady basketball player Lorreal Jones signed to Saint Louis University. Mylan Hicks signed to play football at Michigan State University and Ishmael Thomas committed to play football at Indiana University.

As the No. 1 high school discus thrower in the City of Detroit, I am asked by many athletes and coaches, “why don't you send your tapes out and get a scholarship? You are good enough to get one.”

There is something different about me.

Jones aspires to be sports broadcaster, Hicks wants to be a National Football League broadcaster and Thomas wants to be a chief financial officer. I aspire to be a sports reporter.

These students' non-athletic aspirations come after their dreams of becoming part of the WNBA and the NFL, while my dream of becoming a sports reporter comes before anything.  We are all using college as an outlet to pursue our goals, but if I had the opportunity to participate in Division I college athletics, I would decline.

In the environment where I was raised, the decision to obtain a college education is abnormal. In my extended family of more than 30, only my sister has graduated from college. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted success, education, and stability. It was in eighth grade when I decided to go to college.

As a senior, many things have changed since eighth grade, but my goals haven't. I didn't know that I'd become a talented discus thrower, or that I would develop a passion for writing. My outlook on college is the only thing that has remained the same. So, although getting a scholarship to play sports would be a great honor for an athlete, I feel that it could sidetrack me from becoming the successful, educated person I long to be.

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  • 1

    Do you have an academic scholarship? This blog post doesn't really answer why you wouldn't take an athletic scholarship. It just merely states that you are not going to. Are you being offered a athletic scholarship to universities that don't have a good journalism school? Why can't you keep your education a priority while on an athletic scholarship? Something seems missing in this post.

    Most athletic scholar athletes keep their school work and non-sport dreams their priority. I know when I went to university on a soccer scholarship, I knew very well that soccer was just a good way to get my college paid for. Playing soccer for four months sure beat working all year and leaving college like many of my friends in huge debt.

  • 2

    Rokeyta I respect your commitment to your future career goals and education. However, as a former college student and athlete I have to say that I learned more lessons that I apply to my career from playing basketball than any one class. There are many forms of "education" that can help you achieve success.

    It is never to late to reconsider. Having your education paid for while having the opportunity to experience the intangibles of being a student athlete -- teamwork, time management, collaboration, strong work ethic, dedication, dealing with success and defeat, accountability (to name a few) -- is a great opportunity.

    Good luck!

  • 3

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