By Mindy Campbell, USAG Bamberg Public AffairsOctober 8, 2010
BAMBERG, Germany -- The statistics paint a harsh picture.
Most student athletes will not reach the top levels of their respective sports and get paid to do what they love.
Super Bowl Champion Derrick Mayes, a Notre Dame University all-time leading receiver and former Green Bay Packer, bucked those odds.
"I was one in 17 million," Mayes told student athletes during the "College Recruiting Simplified" seminar at the Bamberg Middle High School cafeteria Oct. 3. "I am one of only 750 (Super Bowl champions) in the world. I was that guy."
Representing the National Collegiate Scouting Association, a commercial recruiting service, Mayes spoke to the students about the realities of becoming a professional athlete and the importance of getting an education.
"It is great to dream and I would never stomp on that dream," he said.
However, he said that while many of the students in the room might have dreams of playing professionally, the reality is that very few will succeed. Those that do succeed either athletically or academically rely not just on their talent but on hard work.
"It took a whole lot of things to work out for me to get that far," he told students. "What I could control was my education."
That education, he said, is what separates the athlete from the pack.
"I was never the biggest, never the strongest," he said. "I had a little bit of talent and a whole lot of character."
During the seminar, Mayes provided the students with several ideas on how to succeed in getting an athletic recruiter to notice them and how to obtain a scholarship. He said that this is particularly important not just for the athletes who play the more high-profile sports such as basketball and baseball but for those that play all sports.
"Statistics prove all of you can't be me," he said. "However, there are 1,800 colleges in America where you can play the sport that you love while getting a degree."
Both the parents and students in attendance seemed impressed with the presentation.
Spc. Audrey Hargraves, 240th Quartermaster Co., 16th Sustainment Brigade, attended the seminar. Her son, Brian, who plays football and basketball, is a senior.
"He put out a lot of good information," she said. "I like how he emphasized that getting an education was the most important thing."
Edward Ozuna, a junior basketball player, said the information was good to hear.
"This will help me to work harder in life," Ozuna said. "What he said will help me get into a better college and know the steps I need to take to get into college."
For more information about the National Collegiate Scouting Association, visit www.ncsasports.org.