The news that Gatorade was coming out with an organic version of its unhealthy flavored sugar water has got me thinking about other dishonesties in youth sports.
Take the "College Showcase Tournament", please. They're everywhere, selling the notion that your daughter is going to get a scooped up by a college coach and that scholarship money will follow.
Here's the reality: There are 1.5 million girls who play soccer in the US, but only 7,300 Division I and II scholarships. Many of the coaches who come to those tournaments are from Division III schools, which have no athletic scholarships. And even the schools that do have them don't have enough for the whole team - Division I schools are limited to 14 for an average roster size of 29, meaning at most each player might get a half scholarship. Division II schools are capped at 10 scholarships each, so for the average team a player might get a 1/3 scholarship. Since the average DII scholarship is $7,500, that's about $2,500, or less than the annual cost of many club soccer programs.
In other words, if your daughter plays club soccer for 8 years and ends up playing Division II college soccer, your return on investment is likely to be a whopping -100%.
Of course we could be honest and tell parents that the big benefits that their girls will get out of sports are self-esteem, better grades, better overall health, fewer high-risk behaviors and lowered risks for everything from breast cancer to obesity to osteoporosis. But apparently that doesn't sell $795-per-team tournament slots.
Too bad. Oh, and studies have shown that good old chocolate milk is better for your athlete after games than any sports drink.