The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

High school

October 27, 2005

Chances of playing NCAA Division-1 sports small for prep athletes

By Mark Rountree Sports Editor

The statistics are staggering.

About 983,000 youngsters play high school football each year, including 281,000 seniors.

Of those, only 5.8 percent will play NCAA Division I football.

What's more, NCAA statistics indicate of the 7 million high school athletes in all sports, only 1 percent get a Division I sports scholarship.

For most players, the high school game represents the pinnacle of their football careers.

"The big colleges just take the cream of the crop," said Enid football coach Tom Cobble. "Playing at the Division I level is about like winning the lottery. The odds aren't in your favor. For most kids, your chances of being a doctor or a lawyer or an astronaut are better than being a Division I college football player."

Enid senior linebacker Ben Lane is like many high school football players. Lane is putting together an impressive senior season. He has 50 tackles and an interception. He has received a few letters from small college programs. But don't expect the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder to be playing for the Southern California Trojans next year.

That's not to say Lane won't play at the next level; there always is a chance for a player somewhere if he wants to play bad enough.

"You always wonder if you can play at the next level," said Lane. "If you don't try, you'll always wonder."

But if Lane does play beyond high school, most likely it will be at a small-school program.

"I've thought about playing college football," said Lane. "It would be something fun to do. ... I'm going to try as hard as I can to go on and play. I might try to walk on somewhere. Even if it's at a small school, I probably would do that. It's still playing football, and I'd still be involved in it."

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