Both yes and no. Athletes on scholarship can study any major provided by a school, and they are just mixed in with the rest of the student body. Even in "big-time" sports institutions, some players pursue tough academic programs and excel. Others focus solely on their sport and try to improve their draft stock or increase their chances of making it into next season's team.
The majority of athletes at these schools work during the day while playing football or basketball, then come home and study after sunset. Some schools with larger budgets can hire faculty members specifically to help students with their homework. These are usually called "assistants professors." Other schools may have tutors available through their counseling centers. Either way, most athletes work on their academics during those few hours when they're not practicing or playing games.
In addition to helping themselves by studying hard, college athletes also help their universities by giving them an advantage in recruiting new players. If a school can show that it's able to produce successful athletes, this will help its reputation and make it more attractive to potential recruits.
Many athletes follow different schedules depending on the month and the year. Football players normally start training camp around July 4th and play through January before taking a break for the winter months. Basketball players do not stop playing during those months; instead, they train all year round looking for any opportunities that might arise with their team.
If a student athlete wins a scholarship, his or her prospects of being accepted into a college, attending the school, and participating in sports are significantly increased. To be eligible for scholarships, students must have a solid academic record. The more athletic they are, the better their chances of getting accepted into some schools.
Students who want to go to school and play sports can do so by joining a college team. Many colleges will accept students with athletic abilities even if they don't plan to use them because there are still opportunities for exposure and prizes. For example, a student who joins a women's volleyball team could end up having his or her photo in the paper, which would bring attention to the school. If you're interested in going to school and playing sports, check with the coaches at some of the schools you think might be a good fit for you and see what they say.
Most students take advantage of the opportunity to receive a free education while also being able to play a sport. A few choose not to use this opportunity and instead work full time while going to school. It is possible but difficult because many schools require a lot of practice and game time to be considered for scholarships. If you decide to join a college team, be sure to study hard and try not to get hurt because that will make it harder for you to continue playing.
Approximately 2% of high school players obtain athletic scholarships to participate in college. NCAA student-athletes complete their degrees at a greater rate than the general student population. In 2010, 26% of football players and 13% of men's basketball players completed their degrees within five years.
The majority of college athletes do not receive scholarships. A small percentage of high school students play one or more sports at a level that would allow them to be considered for college scholarships.
Only two percent of high school athletes ever make it to the pros. That means that out of every 100,000 boys and girls who play high school sports, only two will go on to play pro sports.
The odds are even smaller for those seeking an Olympic gold medal or World Cup trophy. Only about one in 10,000 children who play soccer will become professional players. The same is true for American football: one in 50,000 kids will get a scholarship to play college football, while only one in millions will get drafted by a NFL team.
So basically, it's very unlikely you'll make it as a high school athlete.
According to data from NIAA, only "about 200 high school athletes per year are selected in the annual National Football League draft.