The following is written by our founder and CEO, Chris Krause, who is a regular contributor to the blog. You can read other posts by Chris here.
Athletes who signed yesterday are likely still basking in the glow of their commitment to a school of their dreams, hardly believing that they’ve made it to this point. I know that feeling; it’s followed me for years. Thirty years ago, on Wednesday exactly, I signed my National Letter of Intent to play football at Vanderbilt University.
It’s hard to articulate just how life-changing that opportunity was for me, but when I think of student-athletes out there who may be lost in the recruiting process, who may not feel motivated, or who may be on the fence about playing at the collegiate level, it’s important to me to try. So I’ve tried to encapsulate what you receive when you play a college sport into the most important aspects:
A College Degree
North Chicago, IL is an incredibly special place to me. This is where I was born and raised alongside my sister Maria by two of the most supportive parents – and grandparents – any boy could ask for.
When I was growing up, North Chicago was also a place that many stayed in, began a job out of high school, and started the pattern over with their own families. I thought this might be my path, too, as college tuition was completely out of reach for my family.
And then football happened. I had a reason to work hard in school, because good grades meant I could stay on the team. I had a safe, constructive place to devote my time because my team expected me to show-up and give my all, every day. By my senior year, still not knowing what I wanted to do after high school, football got me on an airplane for the first time in my life, to Nashville, Tennessee.
From there, football got me a full scholarship to one of the top colleges in the country, Vanderbilt University, my degree paid for. Was I the best on my high school team? No. Not by a long shot. Did everyone else know how to use football to get them ahead and get them a degree? Not one of my teammates.
Being a student-athlete in high school and college instilled life lessons in me I simply wouldn’t have gotten under any other circumstance. There are certain things that just can’t be taught – they can only be learned through doing, through expectations.
Leadership, loyalty, time management, organization, character, drive, commitment, respect, selflessness, pushing your limit, health and fitness, consequences, discipline, confidence, humility. These things have meant more to me than any amount of money, more than their weight in gold.
Leadership. Loyalty. Time Management. Organization. Character. Drive. And more… These have meant more than their weight in gold.
These are gifts I had no idea I was receiving at the time, and as a father and business owner, am forever indebted to football for.
My career is clearly in the field of sports, so it’s no mystery that football had something to do with that. What may not be clear is that my experience in recruiting is what drove me to found NCSA Athletic Recruiting, the company that has since become – next to my kids – my biggest passion in life, and my life’s work.
For some student-athletes, their field of study will be what spurs their career, and for others like me, their dream job will spur what field they study, but for us all, sports had the biggest hand in making that degree, and in turn, that career, even possible.
[Editor’s shameless note: Like what working for NCSA sounds like? You’re not alone. Check out our career openings.]
Opportunities to Travel & Continue Your Education
Sports have literally taken me around the world. Through my experience at Vanderbilt and connections I’ve made in business as an entrepreneur, I’ve had the opportunity to learn, grow, and network in over thirty different countries. I’ve become a global ambassador of sport and Athleadership – empowering leaders through sports.
The Obligation to Give Back
I’ve devoted my life to making sure no student-athlete falls through the cracks of the recruiting process, and to ensure that every student-athlete that wants a chance to play at the next level gets that chance.
I’ve devoted my life to making sure no student-athlete falls through the cracks of the recruiting process.
No one who qualifies for our network is turned away for financial reasons. I get to give back every single day. It’s an important piece of my football journey, and is something I couldn’t be more proud of or humbled by.
Most importantly, the sport of football has introduced me to people I may have never met otherwise, and has given me lifelong friends and brothers along the way.
I have a 24/7 support system just a phone call away – for life – thanks to football. My teammates have been with me through the best and worst times I’ve ever had, and will be there for the next 50 years of ups and downs.
The life lessons I’ve learned through sport have shaped me into the father I am today, and the example I strive to be for my kids. And, please, if all of these aren’t reasons enough for you to consider going to the next level, talk to one of our national scouts about what you receive when you play a college sport.