You heard me right. Keep being an amateur! One day it may help you secure a $100,000 worth education.
In most places being called an amateur doesn’t point to something positive. Usually, it’s associated with not being very good at something.
But when it comes to American collegiate athletics, being an amateur qualifies you to be eligible for a sports scholarship, in contrast, a being professional means being denied an athletic scholarship opportunity.
International Student-Athletes’ Dilemma
International high school or university athletes who are thinking about pursuing collegiate athletics in the U.S. often have a dilemma to face – go pro and get paid now or wait a bit and get paid in a gold bar currency of American education? Yes. It can have that much worth!
If you’re new here, see why else studying and playing sports in an American university might be a good idea.
The Amateurism “Rabbit Hole”
The American collegiate athletics amateurism rules go deep down the rabbit hole and it’s hard to exactly find where that hole ends. Some people are in favor of the rules while others are furiously against them. There are good reasons and strong voices working to change some of the amateurism rules, as they apply today.
But until that point, everyone needs to respect them as they are.
What Is Not Allowed
It can be a tough choice to make if you are in this situation. So, here is a list of the things you cannot do:
· Contracts with professional teams
· Salary for participating in sports
· Prize money above actual and necessary expenses
· Play with professionals
· Tryouts, practice or competition with a professional team
· Benefits from an agent or prospective agent
· Agreement to be represented by an agent
· Delayed initial full-time collegiate enrollment to participate in organized sports competition
Cheating Ain’t Gonna Cut It
Unfortunately, some international athletes try to dodge the amateurism rules by following the logic of:
That’s not going to work! As the famous Latvian saying goes, “Lies have short legs!” All major American collegiate athletics organizations, the NCAA, NAIA, and the NJCAA have ways of finding your sports involvement. It’s always better in the long run, to be honest about your sports career. Even if you have been receiving some prize money, you still have a chance to become eligible.
That said, it’s best to learn the rules and keep your record clean!