Student-Athlete Commits: School or Athletics first?


All-state players from Arrowhead Highschool.

Thomas Miller, Reporter

Every year, around 482,600 high school students commit to a Division 1, Division 2, or a Division 3 school for sports, according to Of these students, 56-81% of these athletes get scholarships that pay for partial or all their tuition. To be one of these commits it comes with hard work and determination.

Jacob Powell, a senior at Arrowhead High School, has been playing football for, “as long as he can remember.” Powell earned a scholarship to Illinois State University on July 21st, a Division one school based out of Normal, Illinois. Powell was not just handed this scholarship. He says through a rigorous schedule and workout routine, he was able to earn what many others can not.

“I’ve been working out twice a day in the offseason, once a day when in season along with practices, games, and film,” says Powell.

Although Powell’s afternoons are consumed with workouts and football, he remains focused in school.

“I’ve been maintaining my GPA and also been studying whenever time is available,” says Powell. He says school and sports are of equal importance to him.

Grace Gilmore, an Arrowhead senior star basketball player, has recently committed to the division one college of Western Illinois. While there, she plans to continue her academic as well as basketball career.

“Sports comes first for me this year because I have already got into my school, so now I can spend more of my time focusing on sports,” says Gilmore.  

Being a division one committed athlete, while still finishing up her high school career, has had an impact. She says, “My commitment has changed my life in the sense that I’m not that stressed this year about school, and especially relieved when I hear people talking about filling out applications or deciding what schools they want to go to.”

According to, a recent study shows that 1.0% of women’s college basketball players make it to the pros. Gilmore knows that the chance of being a pro is extremely challenging and may not even be worth the risk. “I don’t want to go professional because the WNBA pays less than other jobs and I am going to pursue a career after college.”

Gilmore says she will pursue athletic training or physical therapy at Western Illinois. Powell will also pursue a dream of his own.

“Professional football is a dream and if that would ever be available I’d take that but I’m expecting to have a job in business, mainly accounting.”

Although it is early in the year, many athletes will be committing to schools. For some, the choice will impact their life greatly, and for some the pressure will be taken off.

“My commitment really hasn’t changed anything. I still try to be the best I can possibly be in everything I do. All it really did was take some pressure off of making the decision,” says Powell.

As these student athletes move past their decision, many others are soon to arise from the Arrowhead High School.