Senior athletes apply for scholarships amid pandemic

With seniors knee deep in the process of college application amidst a global pandemic, scholarship offers have started to come in for the schools top athletes.
Recruitment and scouting for athletic scholarships can happen as early as freshman year for some, with the actual offers coming over the course of a few months, usually between August and October.
“For me, I got it by talking to the coach and he gave me exactly what I would have to pay and what I could get for my grades and who to reach out to,” said Tea Oltjenbruns, a senior on swim.
The pressures that chasing an athletic scholarship brings can be brutal, with athletes needing to compete at the top of their game for the entire season, and across multiple years.
“Well, obviously you won’t be scouted by top schools until you drop under 17, so I’ve been working hard since March and training consistently every day. I want to drop my time by a lot,” said Jason Polhemus, a senior captain on cross country.
Fewer than two percent of all high school athletes are offered athletic scholarships, but it adds up to around $3.1 billion annually for DI and DII alone, this according to NCSA.
“Anytime a player receives a scholarship offer it is exciting. I am very happy for them, as it is a culmination of all the hard work they have put in to be recognized by a college to continue playing. Also, such a small percentage of athletes receive scholarship offers it shows that they are part of the elite high school group that move on to play at the next level. It is a happy time for the coaches, athletes and families,” said Michael Hudnutt, the football coach.
With COVID-19 causing havoc and senior performance being a big catalyst in getting offered a scholarship, seniors are working harder than ever to stand out and show off their talents.