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For many years my own children went through the whole wrestling process and a lot of time and money was put into it.  I expected it, and could afford it so didn’t think much of it.  Now I am helping a student and it has shocked me how insensitive this whole wrestling in college process is towards kids from poverty.  The young man I am talking about was a high school state champion but never went to a camp or wrestled out of season, he could not afford to and did not know anything about it.  I was asked if he could wrestle in college so I decided to help.  From past experience I knew I needed to get him to big tournaments.  He cannot afford nor have access to join a club, so I am his club.  I took him to USA Folkstyle nationals and he had to get a USA card and pay registration.  A hotel for a couple nights, food and transportation also cost a lot.  He did well so I am working at getting him to Fargo which is a qualifying tournament, with all costs, and Fargo will be a much bigger amount.  I believe this young man has a very high ceiling but I can’t help but wonder how many really good kids are out there but will never be seen past high school because they can’t afford to do all of this?

Is there another way?  Or will kids from poverty always be out of college wrestling?

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Trying to do it as a one off is way more expensive.  Travel, lodging, food, even registration, this can get cut down to 1/8 of the cost if you are sending a team rather than a single kid.  I know this first hand because I have one female athlete and she took 3rd in the state in CA and 3rd in the nation.  The cost for her to go to state was more than my entire boys team to go to 8 tournaments.

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Wrestling is getting expensive. We fundraise extensively for our high school program so no one has to go without. I don’t want anyone ever to have to look back and say they could’ve been better if only I could have afforded this or that. If someone is willing to put in the work, we will make sure they are taken care of.

Edited by superbowlhomeboy

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Depending upon where you live you can find lots of events to attend that will get your kid great exposure. It just isn't about Fargo these days with events like FloNationals, Super 32, NHSCA's, and so on.

 

I'd even look into the college combine camps that are popping up everywhere. They seem to have a lot of college coaches attending.

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I agree with BobDole.  I think also that with internet, it is easier for kids to get exposure at events.  If he beats a ranked kid, you will likely find it on flo.  I think its easier now than ever to be seen and recruited by college coaches.  The USA wrestling card is needed but to travel with air and hotel is not needed in most parts of the country.  

 

ps. I compliment you Teach for helping the kid though!

Edited by pennsyrules

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I wonder if this is part of a growing trend - kids are becoming far more specialized far earlier now, and special coaching or training outside of the "normal" classroom and school regime is becoming necessary if they want to compete in any field at the college level.  I see it in theater (both of my kids involved with it), and I also see it in the visual arts.  I suspect you also have a higher level of preperations for kids interested in pursuing higher level technical fields - Math camp, anyone?

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I agree with BobDole. I think also that with internet, it is easier for kids to get exposure at events. If he beats a ranked kid, you will likely find it on flo. I think its easier now than ever to be seen and recruited by college coaches. The USA wrestling card is needed but to travel with air and hotel is not needed in most parts of the country.

 

ps. I compliment you Teach for helping the kid though!

If a family is living paycheck to paycheck though, they might not even be able to afford the extra driving/tournament fees to wrestle that competition. You'd hope that a state champ/college quality kid could fundraise his way but it can depend on the area they live I'm sure.

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A good performance at a relatively large state tournament does wonders for getting recruited.  If you're from the middle of nowhere, then yeah, you have to make a trip to a larger tournament.  Are hotel rates in Fargo, ND really that bad?  

 

If you're really that good but unseen, you can always walk on and earn a scholarship/transfer to a school that will offer one.  

Edited by Billyhoyle

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I wonder if this is part of a growing trend - kids are becoming far more specialized far earlier now, and special coaching or training outside of the "normal" classroom and school regime is becoming necessary if they want to compete in any field at the college level. I see it in theater (both of my kids involved with it), and I also see it in the visual arts. I suspect you also have a higher level of preperations for kids interested in pursuing higher level technical fields - Math camp, anyone?

But we marvel at true freshman national champs like Lee and Yianni.

 

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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A good performance at a relatively large state tournament does wonders for getting recruited. If you're from the middle of nowhere, then yeah, you have to make a trip to a larger tournament. Are hotel rates in Fargo, ND really that bad?

 

If you're really that good but unseen, you can always walk on and earn a scholarship/transfer to a school that will offer one.

For familys that dont know of they can pay their bills, im guessing hotels and tournaments fees would be out of the question. As for walking on, id guess if they lived their life in proverty, the potential debt they could take on if they dont get the scholarship, would turn them off of that route.

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At what level of college wrestling do you think he should wrestle? I don't believe many kids go to d2, d3, or even NAIA without leaving with a good amount of debt even with financial aid. I would imagine that a very small percentage of parents get back in scholarships what they put into it for training, tournaments and camps. Id love to see actual stats on that. D1 scholarships are few and far between unless you are elite.

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For many years my own children went through the whole wrestling process and a lot of time and money was put into it.  I expected it, and could afford it so didn’t think much of it.  Now I am helping a student and it has shocked me how insensitive this whole wrestling in college process is towards kids from poverty.  The young man I am talking about was a high school state champion but never went to a camp or wrestled out of season, he could not afford to and did not know anything about it.  I was asked if he could wrestle in college so I decided to help.  From past experience I knew I needed to get him to big tournaments.  He cannot afford nor have access to join a club, so I am his club.  I took him to USA Folkstyle nationals and he had to get a USA card and pay registration.  A hotel for a couple nights, food and transportation also cost a lot.  He did well so I am working at getting him to Fargo which is a qualifying tournament, with all costs, and Fargo will be a much bigger amount.  I believe this young man has a very high ceiling but I can’t help but wonder how many really good kids are out there but will never be seen past high school because they can’t afford to do all of this?

Is there another way?  Or will kids from poverty always be out of college wrestling?

Not sure how close you are to any clubs, but I know in NJ(a little different since a small state) many clubs that will let wrestlers who truly cannot afford the club to join without paying.  And you can get sponsors for Fargo and Team duals etc.

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For familys that dont know of they can pay their bills, im guessing hotels and tournaments fees would be out of the question. As for walking on, id guess if they lived their life in proverty, the potential debt they could take on if they dont get the scholarship, would turn them off of that route.

The odds of getting a scholarship in wrestling are very low. It's much easier to get an academic scholarship than a wrestling scholarship, especially since so many wrestling scholarships are at NAIA or D2 schools that have very low academic bars for entry, so getting an academic scholarship at these places is feasible. Also, taking out student loan debt isn't the worst thing in the world given the increased earning potential (i think ~1 million) over a lifetime that going to college gives you. 

 

If you really can't afford a trip to Fargo, then don't go, find a large local tournament, and beat some kids who did go and performed well.  Tape the matches, send those tapes to the coaches.  

Edited by Billyhoyle

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The odds of getting a scholarship in wrestling are very low.Taking out student loan debt isn't the worst thing in the world given the increased earning potential (i think ~1 million) over a lifetime that going to college gives you. If you really can't afford a trip to Fargo, then don't go, find a large local tournament, and beat some kids who did go and performed well. Tape the matches, send those tapes to the coaches.

I'm just saying if you look at it from someone living in poverties prospective, taking on the student loans might not make sense because all they have known is living day by day, and taking on those loans "could" make it worse, so unless they know they will have help, or even a spot on the team, its not worth the risk. Also if a family is struggling to even pay their bills and eat, then travel to large tournaments (especially if they arent in a top wrestling state) might not be an option. Edited by maolsen

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If he truly is from poverty, isn’t there a ton of financial aid available that wouldn’t need to be paid back?

 

He could also go to junior college and kill 2 birds with one stone - get a cheap 2 years of college and get some wrestling exposure if he does well at nationals.

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If he truly is from poverty, isn’t there a ton of financial aid available that wouldn’t need to be paid back?

 

He could also go to junior college and kill 2 birds with one stone - get a cheap 2 years of college and get some wrestling exposure if he does well at nationals.

Very true. Pell Grants for families with fewer means cover a considerable amount and don't have to be paid back.

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The return on investment in developing a wrestler is terrible with so little scholarships available in our current climate. If a wrestling family was logical, which most are not just by the nature of being involved with this sport, they would be wise to spend their resources elsewhere.

 

That being said, from my vantage point, it is still the greatest sport in the world,

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The return on investment in developing a wrestler is terrible with so little scholarships available in our current climate. If a wrestling family was logical, which most are not just by the nature of being involved with this sport, they would be wise to spend their resources elsewhere.

 

That being said, from my vantage point, it is still the greatest sport in the world,

Agree. Money spent on wrestling isn’t an investment for a 4 year scholarship but an investment in a life long mentality.

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On things for sure our once blue-collar sport isn’t so blue-collar anymore. Used to be the MS/HS gym rats and grinders would rise to the top of the recruiting list. A few parents willing to pay big bucks early and some elite groups existed that develop exceptional wrestlers for a fee, but those kids were just part of the recruiting search not the majority of it. Now the majority of college recruits are ones that are getting a lot of specialized training early, making connections to college coaches by attending camps/clinics, and those getting exposure by participating is several national events a year.

 

Like most sports these days having and being willing to shell out money can put you on the fast track to development and exposure. That doesn’t necessarily translate into success and scholarships, but it sure does helps give them an edge. As mentioned above is the total youth payout equal to most of their scholarships. Probably not, but if it gets the kids into a good school and allows them to continue competing at a college level I’m sure the parents rationalize it as worth the expense.

 

Are there still success stories from lower middle class families or even those with more financial obstacles in the way, sure. But their are fewer than they used to be, and in many cases those stories come from school program that have additional financial support in place and a well connected coaching staff that can help get the the wrestler the exposure they wouldn’t have been able to get on their own.

Edited by MadMardigain

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