Early College Enrollments Becoming More Common for Football Players: African-American Players Make Up More Than Half of the Eligible Group

A new trend is emerging at universities that have the nation’s largest football programs. High school seniors who have been recruited to play football and receive athletic scholarships are enrolling at the universities for the spring semester prior to their high school graduation. More than one half of all college football players on athletic scholarships at these large universities are African Americans.

These early enrollments enable the students to become accustomed to college life and to take college-level courses prior to the usual fall start, when they may be preoccupied with football. The universities say that enrolling early helps the students adapt academically and socially to the campus environment.

The real reason these students are enrolling early may be that they can participate in spring football practice, which enables them to learn the football system at the particular university. If they do not enroll early, they are not able to practice with the university team until the summer before they enroll.

According to statistics compiled by USA Today, there were 69 high school seniors who enrolled early in 2007, a 100 percent increase from 2004.