By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]

The powerball parent raises a pro athlete who becomes LeBron James or Dwayne Haskins. On the other hand, the parent who raises a lottery athlete doesn’t have to worry about taking a second mortgage on their home to pay for college.

That’s how you play to win the game of life, that is. Most amateur, then college athletes will become professionals in something other than sports.  The reality for parents is that your investment in time, equipment, personal trainers, coaching, transportation, and emotional support should pay a dividend. That dividend should be a free college education leading to  a degree.

HBCUs and smaller schools tend to be strong opportunities for student-athletes. (Courtesy Photo)

Hitting the powerball means generational wealth immediately, and is literally a one in a million chance, which is why the payout is so big. An education is not defined by the school where the student athlete competes. The degree should be about cashing in on the opportunities that athletics present for as professionals, without the worry of trying to pay off student loans.

Sure, the perks that come with having a celebrity kid can be attractive to some parents. Their child’s athletic prowess is better than hitting the powerball jackpot if they play college sports at schools with greater visibility and resources. On the bright side, those with elite level talent will get discovered wherever they play as undergrads.

C.J. McCollum, from Lehigh of the Patriot League, just signed a $100 million deal with the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers. Howard’s Antoine Bethea is preparing for his 13th NFL season following a decorated career at the MEAC school.  

Smaller Division I schools and especially HBCUs should be considered as first options for elite athletes. Scouting and media exposure have levelled certain advantages that were out of their reach. In many cases academic programs at Division II compete with those at programs at larger universities, setting them up for professional life after sports. Smaller class size allows for personal relationships to develop with professors along with coaches. Now, with the NCAA’s transfer portal option a student-athlete can move to a major college program if there’s a scholarship available.

The family as a team has to collaborate in order to enjoy the advantage that cashing the athletic scholarship lottery ticket presents for a student athlete’s future after their final whistle blows.

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