Canceling college sports could put bind on high schoolers competing for scholarships

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LAWRENCE, Ind. — As college conferences continue to postpone or cancel fall sports, it’s putting high school stars at a potential disadvantage when it comes to their financial futures with scholarships.

“That question of sort of scholarship number, and a potential log jam, is a real question,” explains Purdue Athletic Director Mike Bobinski, “[It’s] one we won’t know any answers to for a while.”

Universities are given a finite number of college scholarships per year. If these seasons do not happen this year, Bobinski says those athletes will be given another year of eligibility. If that happens, and those student-athletes are on scholarship, they could hold onto money that would otherwise go to new high school recruits.

“The biggest thing is we talk about living now right. There is nothing we can do about the past. We can’t change anything that’s happened,” says Lawrence North Head Football Coach Patrick Mallory talking about his players who have scholarship aspirations, “This is their only time of their life they get to [play high school sports], right? And, for most of these kids this might be what they have, and if they can’t be here with us, then what are they doing? That’s across the nation.”

Armahn Hillman is a senior for the Wildcats. So far, he has garnered interest from the University of Indianapolis to play Division II football, but he hopes he can snag a Division I scholarship with strong play this season. Generally, a player’s junior year is their biggest season to cash in with recruits and universities. Hillman had a strong junior year and is hoping this season can hold up against COVID-19 long enough for him to make a bigger impression on Division I scouts. Lawrence North has their first game of the season against Avon on August 21.

“When we went quarantine all I did was worked out, so if we got to play then I was ready. Now that we get to play, I’m coming,” Hillman explains, “I feel like a healthy season, and just me being me, and proving everyone that I can play with the best of the best.”

Bobinski says Purdue will continue to recruit as normal unless they are giving new financial parameters from the NCAA. The hope is that playing fall sports in the spring gets universities back on track somewhat. It would allow upcoming high schoolers like Hillman to get scholarship money that opens up from players that leave or graduate.

“I feel like it really puts my family in a good spot,” Hillman says of the financial scholarship benefits, “All of my brothers they came through [Lawrence North], and no one went Division I or anything. I’ve communicated with some more Division III schools, and some Division I’s like Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.”

Lawrence North expects college scouts to continue to show up to games, but with capacity reductions at local stadiums, they may be on a first come first serve basis when it comes to tickets.

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