Whether you are hoping to go pro or just looking to continue your sports career through college, participating in athletics at a Power 5 (ACC, SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big 10) school can be intimidating. However, playing at some of the premier universities in the country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can change your life on and off the field. Here are five benefits of playing in the Power 5.
While playing collegiate sports is a major accomplishment, it rarely guarantees success at the next level. Less than two percent of NCAA athletes end up playing professionally. While big-name schools are certainly not the only ones who will offer up a quality education, they are more willing to hand out scholarships.
Being able to get a full-ride scholarship is rare, but even a partial scholarship can make a big difference in giving students the opportunity to learn at some of the most reputable institutions in the nation. While it is certainly a grind, the ability to potentially get a reduced learning experience is something worth considering.
Training and Facilities
For those who are serious about going pro, there is no better place to hone one's skill than a Power 5 weight room. With a large network of students, boosters and alumni, funding for sports is prominent at many schools, allowing for state of the art facilities to be constructed on-campus, while bringing in some of the best trainers from around the country. Access to Olympic-quality weight rooms is scarce, so it would behoove student-athletes to take advantage and hit the gym.
Exposure and Travel
As a member of a Power 5 school, student-athletes are given the chance to fly across the country, participating in marquee games and events, many of which are televised, depending on one's sport. For the select few looking to become a professional athlete, this is an opportunity to be seen by scouts from far and wide, as well as making connections that can go a long way down the line. For the vast majority who won't pursue this path, those same connections may still come in handy for any future career path. In addition, the chance to visit new places free of charge on private jets is an exciting and unique chance to do something most people only dream of.
Forming a Bond
It may sound cliché, but there is truly nothing similar to the bond that college athletes have with their fellow teammates. College sports is a process that can often feel grueling, with practices, training, and games taking up much of one's schedule. However, these priorities can limit and restrict some opportunities to be more active socially, which can lead to many feeling as if they are missing out.
Teammates become brothers and sisters on campus, since it can feel as if you are together with them at all hours of the day, and they are often essential to getting through the most difficult of times. At Power 5 schools, college athletics often entails battling against top competition with a select group dedicated to a common goal, all while forming lifelong relationships that carry over long after graduation.
Quite simply, Power 5 schools create an atmosphere that cannot be replicated anywhere else. From top-flight coaching staffs and resources all the way down to some of the most rabid fanbases on Earth, students who decide to attend a major university are experiencing a culmination of factors that can truly enhance one's time on campus. In addition to the high-stakes events that mark the Power 5, student-athletes are also able to go up against elite opposition on a nightly basis. This challenge is not for everybody, but it builds mental toughness and character, two traits that can prove far more valuable in life than how fast you can run or how far you can throw.