Being an NCAA Division I athlete is a full-time job, and this is from the perspective of being on a Women’s team. I can only imagine playing football. That’s like having two full-time jobs.
You need to really love your sport if you want to play NCAA Division I sports because it will be your life. There’s no breaks. You train year around and your off-season time is harder than being in season. On top of this non-stop playing and training, you have to be a full-time student, even during the summer training (depending on your sport). You also have to maintain a certain GPA to be eligible by the NCAA to play.
The following was my schedule as an NCAA Division I volleyball player from January-May: Wake up at 4:30 am, be in the weight room by 4:50 am because warm-up starts at 5 am and being on time is arriving at least 10 minutes early, then weights from 5 am-7:30am, I have to get my shake and go to my first class at 8 am. I have classes back to back from 8 am-12 pm. Then I have to get lunch and report to film from 12:30pm-1:30pm. Then I have to go to treatment from 2pm-3pm. Immediately following is practice until 6pm. Then I have to get dinner, shower, complete homework, then get enough sleep to wake up the next day and do it all over again.
There is barely enough time to do the necessities like eat, complete homework, and sleep. Sure it is cool traveling across the country, playing at other universities, and winning a ring. But Division I sports is a lot. For these reasons, I strongly believe college sports is only worth it if you are playing a sport that has a professional league that pays at least six figures. Typically, this means that if you are a man, playing college sports is worth it because you have the opportunity to make millions professionally. Majority of women do not even make six figures playing professionally. Women make more money working a 9am-5pm job then playing a women’s professional sport.