Athletes on the red carpet

Signing day photos make student athletes feel like stars

Max Feldman, Staff Writer

Lights. Camera. Action. Student-athletes are celebrating their achievements by posing for unique photo opportunities throughout the year.

When students commit themselves to play a sport at certain schools, they make sure to do so by signing a letter of commitment, Andrew Lambert, athletic director, says. Lambert says there are certain dates throughout the year that are predetermined by the NCAA when students can sign contracts for their school. According to Lambert, the school tries to make this experience more memorable by showing support and taking pictures.

“It’s an exciting time for a student-athlete, especially since a very small percentage of [students] go on and play the next level. We feel that it is a great way to celebrate and honor those individuals, and it’s kind of a sending off from high school,” Lambert said. “You are committing to the next phase of your life, so it’s our job to serve them and to prepare them. For people who want to use athletics as a means to get to that point, my job is to ensure that our student-athletes have a great experience.”

This support is greatly appreciated by students, says Carly Trebac, senior varsity athlete. Trebac says support from the school plays a big role in how students feel when making important decisions involving sports.

“I think all of this support is important if you’re going on to sports in college, and if you have this support system of coaches and parents, it helps decide what path you go into,” Trebac said. “You are more comfortable and at ease once you choose to [go into sports in college] because you have help along the way to make that decision. The signing day photos really show how all of your hard work pays off, and that picture of [the athlete] signing with everyone who supported them really shows how much they have been able to accomplish with that support system.”

While this support may be crucial for student-athletes, a lot of students will not go through this experience at all. Most students say they plan to give up their sport before college, but why? The number of students who go on to be college athletes is usually small for a variety of reasons, Lambert says.

“I think that kids get burned out and they just don’t want to play the next level. Another factor could be that opportunities with schools could be limited, [the schools] could be interested in them or not,” Lambert said. “You have to remember that a very small percentage of students across the United States go on to play at a Division I level which is the highest level, or as college athletes.”

Lambert is correct in saying that a very small number of students go on to play in college athletics. According to the official NCAA website, an estimated six percent of men and seven percent of women go on to play an official sport in college coming out of high school.

“Nearly eight million students currently participate in high school athletics in the United States,” the website said. “More than 480,000 compete as NCAA athletes, and just a select few within each sport move on to compete at the professional or Olympic level.”

This scarcity in students going on to play sports at a college level could also be an issue of time. According to Trebac, classes during freshman year of college are difficult enough already, and playing a competitive sport would take up too much time and be too physically demanding.

“I think academics are more important for me, [so] I didn’t really want to do my sport after high school because of [the time it takes]. I feel like at the end of high school is typically a stopping point, especially if you are not going into division one, two, or three in college,” Trebac said. “Most colleges don’t really have clubs for my sport, and plus doing gymnastics for four more years would be very harsh on my body.”

Though most students do not pursue athletics in college, the select few that do will likely have a bright future, Lambert says. According to Lambert, athletics in college is a worthwhile endeavor.

“If you have the drive and passion [athletics] is a great avenue to explore and make a lot of connections with individuals from around the country and around the world,” Lambert said. “In some instances, you get to go and play at the next level which is always exciting, so I think it’s definitely a great avenue for kids to explore and to participate in.”