EP1: The Reality of A High School Athletic Career

This summer, join us for a special mini-series on sports, mental health, and finance, where we bridge the gaps in sports, equity, and equality. In this episode, we sit down with coach Dillon Clark to understand high school athletes and that precarious moment in young athletes' careers where they must make a big decision to play at university or not, and all of the costs that come along with it. We talk academics, scholarships, mental health, and what effect students' financial decisions have when pursuing their sport.



DILLON CLARKE enters his seventh year coaching football at Pleasantville and brings over 14 years of coaching experience to the Panthers.  He previously coached Women’s basketball and football at Horace Greeley High School at the modified, JV, and Varsity levels, having coached All-State, All-County, and All-Section Linemen. 


Coach Clark is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta and Pace University. He is a special education mathematics/computer Science/ENL teacher at Pleasantville High School.

View Transcript

Mary  (00:00):

Hi there, everyone. And welcome back to Your World, Your Money. This is your host, Mary. Hi, there. It's been a minute since we last chatted and we are so happy to have you back with us this summer. We have curated something special for you. A special summer mini-series on sports, mental health, and finance. We have professional athletes, sports, psychologists, and financial experts from all walks of life to share their stories and perspectives. Learning and absorbing together with all of you, we're talking the truth, reality, and candid conversations behind mental health, sports, and money. We're going to talk about contracts, scholarships, competing obligations, cost of mental health, and much more. In this specially curated mini-series, we want to bridge the gaps in sports, equity, and equality. For an athlete throughout their entire career, health, mental health and balance will determine their success or failure. Every choice we make along the way to our dreams and goals has a benefit and a cost whether you can count that cost in dollars or not.


Mary (01:16):

In this mini-series, we are going to weave through money, mental health, and the world professional athletes to understand how one of the biggest industries in the country has yet to catch up to the new equality status quo. And what the costs of this lagging equity and equality has on athletics as a whole, all the way down to the individual athlete, fighting for their dreams and passions. Today, we sit down with coach Dillon Clark to understand high school athletes and that precarious moment in a young athlete's career, where they must make a big decision to play at university or not. And all of the costs that come along with it.


Mary  (02:46):

This is Dillon Clark. He's a Math and special ed teacher and has 17 years of experience as a coach. Whether it's football, women's basketball, JV teams, or varsity... Coach Clark is now bringing his current team, the Pleasantville Panthers, his substantial breadth and scope of expertise.


Lauren (03:07):

Dillon. Hi, welcome. It's so nice having you with us today. And we are so excited to chat with you. We would love for you to tell us a bit more about you and your coaching career. You coach the Pleasantville Panthers. Your previous experience, coaching women's basketball - me - and football at Horace Greeley high school, and many more. So can you share a bit about your coaching experience in general?


Dillon (03:30):

Sure. So I was lucky to have a mentor in my varsity football coach who knew I wanted to get into coaching. So as soon as I graduated, he asked me to be a volunteer coach on the staff. And so I did that through college and then my first paying job was actually as a middle school football coach. And then I got asked to be a varsity assistant with the girls' basketball team in Horace Greeley high school. And since then I've done middle school, boys basketball. I've done JV football, JV softball, JV boys lacrosse, middle school girls lacrosse. And currently, I'm doing JV football and varsity girls basketball. And I've coached at, as Lauren mentioned, Horace Greeley high school and Pleasantville high school. I've also coached a little bit at Briarcliff high school. All three are in Westchester County, New York. Currently, I teach English as a new language and math at Pleasantville high school. Additionally, some special education classes. Previous to that, I did a leave of placement at my Alma mater, Horace Greeley high school. And I've worked as a teaching assistant through that. So I've seen kids through many lenses in different roles, in different situations.


Lauren (04:38):

So I feel like there's a lot of room for mentorship in this space. And there's a lot of room for you to, from your own perspective, from an older perspective, really be in spaces with very impressionable people on a daily basis, right? Especially in a space like sports. What are some of the things that motivate you to continue with your coaching career specifically at the high school level and what are some of the exciting opportunities or even challenges that you face while invested in this career?


Dillon (05:05):

The number one thing you first get into it, you think you're just going to be this tactile X and O's master, and what you quickly learn is, and what you taught me, Lauren, and you know, a lot of your teammates was like the values and the relationships. The team only is going to go as far as the relationships. And I feel like, you know, you talked to my ex-players. I think that's one of the things that I try to create memorable experiences for them and try to be a memorable person in their lives. So that enhances the experience as well in terms of challenges. And I had to think hard of that because there's two sides here for me. So when I was a younger coach, you know, my mentor was an intense ex-military. So that was the first basis that I had. And when I first came to coaching girls specifically, Lauren, some of the other girls, I had to learn that that turned away people.


Dillon (05:55):

So I had to reflect myself in order advance as an, as myself as a coach that I, you know, I couldn't be strict all the time. Most recently - I forgot the year. You know you had in schools - at least in New York state - the DASA legislation for anti-bullying. So then I had to be introspective and say to myself, you know, how intense can I be without crossing that line where I could be individually culpable or seen as committing - even though I don't think of it as - could it be perceived by a player of mine as I'm bullying them? Right. So I had to really think down and I think there's a time and place for tone and voice still, and I just have to be smart and how I choose that. The other thing I thought of challenges as, as the further, you go up in levels coaching, the more logistics that there is. There are more partnerships you have to work with. You have the parents, you have administration... It just becomes just like with anything, you know? The farther you go up in something that what you're doing, doesn't change. You actually spend more time doing the other stuff than the stuff that you originally thought you were going to do.


Mary  (07:00):

Well, I actually love where you are taking that, like going into more of the logistics side of it and saying like, you know, now your life is a lot more of that. And one of the things that we wanted to dive into was talking about the realities of scholarships and, you know, the realities of getting scholarships or not. If Lauren had put in basketball and football because that's her expertise. And so we had this question just like, how do they work? But in addition to the logistics that you're talking about, I'd also love if you'd share just from the experience of the athlete, what is it like to go through making these decisions of whether to accept scholarships or whether to take out loans to go to school? So like share with us some of the realities. And also, you know, as much as you can, like, what do these athletes have to go through at such a young age to make these choices?


Dillon (07:53):

Sure. So what I did look up was, you know, the number of scholarships in each sport. By level, you know NCA division one and NCA division two. There's a separate thing called NAIA, which is like its own NCAA. And then there's a junior college, right? And even still at the division three level, while there are not formal, academic scholarships there are such things as, as need-based scholarships where it's not an athletic scholarship, I guess, by letter of the law, but it is a scholarship before. So it, you know, it's just amazing. And like I pulled up the percentages and how low the percentages are to actually go from, let's say, high school to even overall to the NCA. So any level of NCA, the percentage for a men's basketball player based on that number of high school participants is 3.5% for a man for a woman it's 3.9%.


Dillon (08:49):

So it's even just to be on an NCAA team is minuscule. Now take that a notch. And, you know, basketball is one of the few sports where they can afford because they are a revenue-generating sport. They have a limit where you would say one scholarship for one kid. But a lot of these other sports, they just have a set amount and they have to piecemeal it. So you talk about, you know, a kid might say, he plays lacrosse on scholarship. But maybe they're getting like, a third. Like a men's division, one lacrosse team gets 12.6 scholarships, but those rosters could be 40 kids. So not everyone's getting the scholarship who is on that sideline.


Lauren (09:27):

I have a quick question for you too, while you're also experiencing a level of coaching and a level of teaching specifically in math, a lot of what we're talking about for this initiative summer of sports and athletics is this idea of finance coming into the conversation in different spaces that we're involved in. Have you, or can you speak to a bit about what you've noticed from the conversations that you're having about money and finance in the classroom with athletes or even athletes who are trying to be recruited? Like, is there a level of advice or story that you could tell us about that?


Dillon (10:04):

You know, I was contemplating what's going on now and not to be political, but this battle over critical race theory and how we always in education choose to battle over controversial topics rather than come together and make sure we're doing to the most efficient and best possible the things that we all agree on. So things like computer science has become extremely popular now in, in the K-12 school system. And I think financial literacy should be right there at the top of it. I tap into teaching math a population it's more of a special education student side. But even as early as ninth grade, I'm teaching what a debit card is with inequalities. Not to make sure you over withdrawal and what happens if you over withdraw in terms of fees and how that operates. So I think we're doing a nice job in terms of sprinkling it in. But I, I would love to see it be more prominent. And a teacher, my school uses EVERFI, which is a great resource for K through 12. It had modules for financial literacy. So we like to talk about controversial things and mandate certain things, but rather than just come together for the strong commonalities. Let's, let's get our energies there first and make sure those are being done well. You know, maybe that will take enough, put enough energy that then people will actually collaborate on the differences and the controversial topic.


Mary  (11:25):

With the students that you have that have to make these financial decisions so young. Like we're asking young adults to make big financial decisions that affect their lives. And I'm thinking specifically within sports. So like choosing scholarships or choosing loans, if they didn't get a scholarship to play. So what role do you think maybe a lack of financial literacy or the presence of it that you've just seen with some of your athletes? What role does that play in? I mean, we know the answer at the foundation. Of course, it makes a big difference, but tell us from your perspective, how that makes a big difference.


Dillon (12:00):

When I reflected on that, I was initially was thinking, you know, socioeconomic background and how it could affect this either way. Right? And so I thought on both ends, whether you come from a wealthier side or less wealthier side, if you're constantly playing sports and you're not learning about the financial literacy part of it, you don't really grasp the value of $10. Right? So for me, growing up where I grew up, I was blessed where, you know, my parents said your job is to be a student. And if I need $20, I would get $20. And on the flip side, if you're on a lower socioeconomic, maybe the family doesn't have disposable income that can go. And so if you're always wrapped up going from tournament to tournament, practice to practice, are you truly learning the value of what $10 is? And what can that get you?


Dillon (12:48):

Or you constantly just - it becomes this accepted behavior where you just think that the well's never going to dry up. I had four girls graduate, my four captains, all four played three sports. So what are they working? They're working over the summer or they're making money as a camp counselor. And, you know, hopefully, they were able to learn how to stretch a camp counselor stipend and tips throughout the whole school year. Because when you have three sports, it's hard to - who's hiring you for a part-time job. On the likewise, I've never had to deal with somebody who was an athlete that maybe had to step back from a sport in order to take a part-time job to supplement the family. So I think on both ends of the spectrum, you have this one where - just to bring it full circle- If you don't have disposable income, you never learn managing money cause you never have it. And on the other flip side, if you come from a family with money and you're constantly getting $20, you don't really understand what that means.


Lauren (13:42):

When we ask about these, these are kids, right? So kids can be approached for recruiting as early as I want to say, I got my first letter when I was 14 years old. Right. And then that, that just keeps going. So it's a matter of, you know, how involved your parents are. How involved anyone, any coach your coaches are, your mentors are, can you speak to any of the challenges that you've noticed that come into play? When students, kids, children, young athletes are stepping into this space of where they have to make major financial decisions, major financial, professional decisions, career decisions, right? How can you think both about your career and just your scholarship? Because out of all the percentages that you said, like, I, it just speaks so well to it because so few of these athletes are going to get a scholarship. So a few of these athletes are going to go on to play professionally. And then so few of these athletes, are they going to play till they're 40,


Dillon (14:36):

You hit it right on the nail. We Can't be holding back and waiting to do financial literacy and mental health work when it's senior year. That's too late. The process has already begun and gone through, you know. These kids as early as freshman year make a decision. You someone's gotten in the air and told them that they have some level of ability and then they have to go and pursue it from there. In terms of mental health, to a point, it's an extreme sacrifice. I mean, if you're, if you're pursuing something and it's at a season, you're talking about going to, tournaments, trying to play on these club and AAU teams in order to keep up your skill level, compete against the best while also being able to be seen by coaches. Like I had a girl whom I went to high school with, whom I know she played three sports. She stopped playing field hockey and basketball in order to focus on softball. But on the weekends, in the fall, she was flying to a softball tournament. She was missing out on that true high school experience in order to get this, you know, she got a scholarship to Stanford softball, but the sacrifice that these kids have to go through at a young age of, you're just not going to have a typical teenage experience is a daunting decision. And not one that should just be left for the child to be unilaterally made.


Mary  (15:49):

Something that immediately jumped out to me was, well, did she understand how expensive that was? Were there other young women that was as talented that couldn't do that? Like immediately the thought that popped into my brain was whether or not the athlete understands, like what they're being given. That's a lot of pressure, at least to me, that's a lot of pressure whether I realized or not how much those plane tickets cost because I'm however old I am at the time. I know that that's a cost. I know that that's being spent. And I know that I have teammates that can't do that.


Dillon (16:24):

Yeah. I mean, I don't know if she knew the exact financial ramifications, but I would like to think that, you know, her parents made her aware of what this was going to cost. And, you know, I think, you know, going back to them before. It depends on what - if you come from lower socioeconomic and you're told that this is your ticket out. I think you're willing to do more things that are atypical so that you can, at some point lead a quote-unquote typical life. I think when you are coming from a higher socioeconomic background, I think it's much more difficult to give up those typical experiences because of the luck that you were born into of your family and wealth. But I mean, I guess, you know, not being a parent myself, I've never had to sit down with the kid and say, 'okay, your parents paid this much money for this.'


Dillon (17:14):

And the problem is when parents become overcontrolling and want a sort of an exchange where they need to justify this cost to themselves, as they put on their business hat and do a cost-benefit analysis of their child's experience. And just add onto mental health, I know there is a big movement now in schools for socio-emotional learning. I mean, we're sort of in this socio-emotional learning era, if you will. And so that's being started at Pleasantville high school as early as ninth grade. I mean, working on DBT and those kinds of self-monitoring thoughts. And it's integrated into English class. It's integrated into ninth-grade history where we were bringing in before pre-pandemic and outside person to conduct these exercises with the kids. So as early as 14. Again, but we're blessed to have the money to be able to do it. I don't know if you told me what's the experience of a 14-year-old inner-city, Baltimore. I don't know if they're bringing in somebody or where the outlet is for that child to have a similar experience.


Mary (18:14):

And for our listeners. Can you tell us what that is? A lot of our listeners might not know.


Dillon (18:20):

DBT? you know, when I was growing up, it was metacognition. It was thinking about your own thoughts and just breathing exercises. If you feel yourself, feeling a lot of anxiety. What can you do to sort of rein in your thoughts and sort of change the course of where your thoughts are going. So that you are in a more positive mindset.


Mary  (18:41):

So you were mentioning just a little bit ago, and I want to lead into a little bit more, about kind of the tribe that these athletes have around them, whether it's like parents or coaches that, you know, a minister like whatever is in this tribe that they have. And there's a lot of pressure there, and there's a lot of cultural expectations that are, again, whether it's coming from parents or schools, the society, or from church. And just to open up the conversation before we hone it in a bit more. What are some of the impressions you have on what those cultural pressures can do to an athlete? And what would you want to change? Like what would you love to see a shift in some of these pressures?


Dillon (19:23):

One of the big things for me, I'm just speaking from a basketball standpoint, is I would like to see less pressure to do outside teams in order to expose oneself. I think, you know, AAU was great and had its place at a time. But with things like YouTube and stuff like that, I think there are ways to - where the athlete can take back control or maybe they don't feel the pressure to play for one of these teams in order to, you know, be seen. And we can get to a day where we sort of take out that middleman. You know, that's where you hear about the nefarious stories and whatnot. Sort of really wild west, where there was no oversight and maybe that's one culturally.


Mary  (20:06):

Hmm. Yeah. And just listening to you say that I immediately think those athletes would have a little bit more of a quote-unquote life. Like they potentially would be able to pursue other passions or to find a little bit more balance for themselves.


Dillon (20:19):

Right. Exactly. I think, you know, this idea of, you know, every weekend you're drumming out some to a different state or whatnot to play a tournament can add up in a, in a child's life in terms of having community, friends, and whatnot. The opposite spectrum would be if a kid comes from a dangerous neighborhood and they're able to participate, these things are actually getting out of the dangerous thing into a more safe environment. So these things always operate in a spectrum. It's never just in a vacuum.


Lauren (20:48):

Yeah, so I would say even like for a counter-argument, too. Because I see both sides, right? Like when you hear it, like - yes - like, you know, I would have loved a few hours back in my weekend. But to that same point with that traveling and being on different teams outside of your one high school team. The people that you're surrounded by, financially, are just different. And I think that plays a huge role in how you then learn how to process money, how to process thought. You can look around and be like, okay, my family is not concerned with paying for this next meal, but when the check comes around and another family seems a little more nervous'. Like even just as a child, as a teenager, like you're processing that thought. Whereas if you're surrounded by people who can all do what you can do as easily as you can do it financially.


Mary  (21:33):

And Lauren, I love that you're mentioning that. Because something that I keep coming back to is these old - and I played lacrosse at university, but I wasn't on scholarship for it. I was on academic scholarship. - And so when I think back to that, and I was very young when I went to university, I was 16. And so when I think back on that, these things were massive pressures in my life. And so, as we're talking about these things, I just keep thinking about the pressure that this must be for a young adult. And what kind of state that, that would put them in making these decisions. Again, we want to put a financial lens on it, but that goes for any big decision. If you're 15 years old, 14 years old, and you're under all of these pressures. Like, Lauren, what you just shared with me is incredible to have those exposures. But no matter which side of it you come from, to me, that's a lot of pressure, isn't it? And then to have to be making these big decisions. So coming back to that, like culture and expectation question. Perhaps it's not necessarily something that we can change, but Dillon, what would you love to be able to do at your school that could make a difference for some of the pressures that these athletes are under? Because they're already under a lot just from the sport. And then you mix everything else into it. And as adults, we're quote-unquote, supposed to be able to handle that. Well, these kids are children.


Dillon (22:52):

Right? My first year I was the head coach at Pleasantville. I brought in an ex-teammate of Lauren to speak to the team. Ashley Rosenberg, who is a girl who played three sports in high school. She played four years of varsity of each sport. And I asked her to talk about like - you know, she went on to be a valedictorian. 'What Was your experience like doing this, accomplishing this?' And she was like, you know, 'I had to sacrifice sleep during the week. And I had to catch up with sleep on the weekends in order to accomplish this.' And so one of the things I've thought of is like, especially with the advancement of technology and stuff like that, is if schools eliminated homework. And if that allowed for - I still fight this battle with my girls now about getting to bed by 10, 11. O'clock right? You would think it's like the hardest thing in the world to do, but -


Mary  (23:39):

We're grown-ups and it's still the hardest thing in the world to do.


Dillon (23:42):

But when you're on the school schedule and you know, the importance of eight hours of sleep and, you know, maybe that's something, whereas we go into the social-emotional era, we'll look and say, kids who want to pursue academics at a higher level, who take those honors classes, AP is you can expect homework. But if you're just fine being in the typical class, being on the typical path, maybe we help those kids out by significantly reducing the out-of-school homework so that they can do these things. Maybe get a part-time job, which helps them get their start into financial literacy. Pursuing other interests that are not offered at school. Be able to get that extra hour, hour and a half-asleep. And what would that lifestyle change bring about?


Lauren (24:30):

Why I'm I started thinking about the loopholes and the gaps in the conversation about financial literacy specifically for athletes at the professional level was going to this conversation of again, how we're having these flashbacks to how we processed different levels of our own financial experience. So Dillon, from your perspective, as a coach, as a former athlete, as a current teacher what are some of the things more specifically about financial literacy that you can speak to? Again, we just spoke about how athletes, a small percentage of them will go on to do the sport that they're doing professionally. I even Ashley, I love her. She played for varsity sports, but I'm pretty sure she's not playing professionally right now. So like, what is the cost-benefit that's coming from just in our values for what we choose to do at such a young age?


Dillon (25:17):

Hmm. Well, two points. I mean, everyone has a choice of what to do with time. So people had to choose for themselves how they're going to allocate time in terms of the financial illiteracy part. I mean, something that I got to spend some time on now, I don't know if I'll ever coach this caliber of player. But the whole idea of name, image, and likeness and the recent Supreme court decision with the NCA really blows up this financial thing. Because now you're talking someone who - you have kids now graduating a semester early to start college, what would be their typical second semester, senior year of high school. They're in college. And so right from January of their senior year, if they're good enough, they could be available for name-making money off an image and likeness. So now how are we teaching from the financial literacy standpoint again, maybe starting at sophomore year, junior year? What's the finances behind that. So that when they do become a college athlete, that they are prepared to profit off of their name, image, likeness, and not be taken advantage of.


Mary  (26:20):

We were actually just reading an article, and we're actually gonna be focusing a lot on this at the foundation, about a young athlete. And she's walking into five figures in her freshman year. She's walking right into this because of her skill, of course, but also her social media and her presence and all of these other things. And when I think about that young woman, I don't know what financial literacy she's had. I don't know what money conversations she's had with mom and dad. But that is a big, massive contract to be signing. And I wonder if young adults have the wherewithal to sign those contracts like that?


Dillon (26:58):

Well, I mean. It also, again, I don't, I don't know the specifics of the law - is a minor allowed to sign that contract? Or, because of their age, does the parent have to sign for them, which then brings up the question of, is the parent forcing the kid to do this, to make money, to maybe payback from previous years of expenditure of money? Who signs on the dotted line when the kids are mine? Is it that person's quote-unquote agent who's negotiating the business deal? Is it the parent who has to sign? I remember when one of the Kobe Bryant documentaries when he was drafted, he was actually 17. And when he was signing his contract out of high school, his parents had to validate the contract. So I'm wondering about if that's, what's occurring now with all these names, image likeness for student-athletes who are going into freshman year that may not be 18 and cannot sign for themselves.


Mary  (27:49):

Yeah. She just turned Olivia Dunn - you both probably know who that is. She just turned 18, but I had to look and that's a really good point to bring up.


Lauren (27:56):

Hmm. So I just thought of an interesting question. I'm going to throw out there. So when you are choosing to go into your career of being a coach, did you think about the lens and like the bigger picture of what that would mean for your own finances as a former athlete? And then you have this interesting duo career and job as a teacher and a coach. When you made that decision, what was that like?


Dillon (28:24):

I initially thought of the pros and cons of - you know, I thought it was going to be football, initially. But do I go into high school teaching and coaching or do I pursue college coaching? And talking about the financial literacy piece, the amount of moves that college coaches have to make. I mean, they're basically on year contracts and they don't know where they're going to be the next year. And so was that the kind of lifestyle? - And you know, how, how would that affect me emotionally versus being in one location and knowing when the next paycheck's coming in and not having that uncertainty for me was much more important than being the head coach of Alabama. Being on the cover of sports illustrated. That was, and that's where I sort of fell into the high school level.


Mary  (29:10):

And Dillon, just to ask - and it doesn't have to be too in-depth. But that's a perspective like in making that choice, that very candidly, a lot of young adults don't have. They don't think about the financial side of it. We wish they would, but they don't. And so just to ask, like, where did that come from for you? Did that, was that something your parents instilled in you? Was it because you had to work growing up? Like you made a choice, a lot of young adults don't consider.


Dillon (29:36):

Well, I started volunteering at a high school. So, you know, while I was still studying a college, I volunteering and you go through the four years. You've got to start planning what's next. And so my choice was, I knew I was going to have certification as a teacher. That I wanted to maybe pursue a graduate assistantship at the college level, see what that was like or not. And I felt ultimately that I didn't have enough connections to get into the graduate assistant positions that I would have wanted at the time. And I had a nice setup at our alma mater. So I sort of just went with that as the foundation of, you know... And also, like I said, I, I didn't really want to have to move a thousand times.


Lauren (30:18):

Hmm. As we get closer to the end of our interview, I am wondering... Dillon, for you, what are some of the financial resources that are available for our high school athletes and post-high school athletes?


Dillon (30:29):

Hmm. I mentioned EVERFI, which we use as a teaching curriculum. And this was one I kind of somewhat struggled with. I'm sure that how about something that... You know, bringing it back to mental health, I'm sure you could go on players' Tribune and I'm sure some players written a diary about losing all their money. Or, you know, rather than it be sort of this, quote-unquote textbook on how to do things, maybe it's about accumulating and reading blog posts about personal stories, enough to understand mistakes that were made and learn from those mistakes. Rather than get caught up on what the technical term of something is relative to the topic of financial literacy. People still do the stock market game for understanding investing. But the thing about the stock market game is you have to have capital to invest in the stock market, right?


Dillon (31:16):

So if you don't have capital to invest in the stock market, the stock market game somewhat loses its' value. Even I think there's low tech things as if, a kid writes out all their costs for a week and where's the money coming from, right? It doesn't have to be this amazing high-tech solution, but there's running financial diary of, 'I spent this year collect the receipts, tallying that up, comparing that with, okay, my first potential job could be this per hour. I'm going to get this much taken out with taxes'. Just starting that conversation, I think can be eye-opening to an individual at a young age.


Mary  (31:53):

And just continuing on with the conversation around resources and you know, what's available. What would you say to any athletes out there that's in high school, that's maybe thinking about scholarship or taking loans to go to school. What would you say to them are some resources that they should absolutely look into. And then on the other side of that, what resources would you love to see? Like what, what do you wish was out there?


Dillon (32:18):

Depending on the quality of student I know for, to be a scholarship athlete, you have to clear what's called the NCAA clearinghouse. So you got to make sure that your grades are good enough for you to be eligible, to receive a scholarship. And then if they're not, you know, what's the junior college level, like in order to receive those scholarships, I think going to the NCA or doing Google search, understanding the limits. And so understanding that, okay, if I go here and I get a third scholarship. Because they don't have enough scholarships to give one per member of the team, what am I actually receiving relative to the total cost of attendance? How am I going to make up that difference? Do I come from a background where I have, you know, your, your parents or guardian set up a college 5 29 savings account. Where you had something to pull from to offset the initial costs. Am I going to have to ask the coach for need-based scholarship? If I'm going to go at the division three level. Am I prepared to have that conversation and say, if you want me to attend your college, this is what it will take in terms of how much I will need per year, whether it be a combination of student loans or need-based scholarships? I think that would be the first thing I would look at.


Mary  (33:35):

And if I can ask as well, just, just because this is such a cool part of what we're doing with this mini-series. That same question about resources and such things like that. And I know you've mentioned some already, but perhaps around mental health and just like keeping an athlete's balance.


Dillon (33:52):

Hoof. Well, I mean, first off, Kevin Love has done tremendous work writing about his mental health. I think whether it's reading about other athletes' experiences with it and maybe finding one that you connect with. And then usually these people are ambassadors of certain organizations that can then help. That's where I would go to probably first. I mean, not everyone has the, you know - bringing this back to also finances is not like... Although for years, as part of insurance policies, mental health was sort of, you know, not mentioned. Now that it's become more Vogue, maybe... I don't know what resources are available out there in terms of being able to use insurance to pay for maybe a therapist or someone to talk to in your life who's not your mother or sibling that you just need to talk to. And, you know, I have a mom who's a clinical psychologist.


Dillon (34:40):

So I - the idea of mental health is something that has always been a part of my life. And I've seen the change from, you know, 'insurance won't cover it so then you have to pay out of pocket'. Well, if you're paying out of pocket, you need to have a disposable income to pay out of pocket. So that who actually goes and gets the help that they need for mental health, the wealthy. To now, where it's becoming more in Vogue and there are many more outlets. And I think it's a much more prominent part of insurance policies now. Just also to bring it back, I think, you know, Lauren had a tremendous decision her high school, senior year. In terms of mental health and financial literacy. Where her two choices were, she was going to decide to pursue academics and basketball. One was at William and Mary in Virginia on a full scholarship.


Dillon (35:25):

And the other was NYU with D3 where there was no quote-unquote athletic scholarship. And I remember having texts back and forth with Lauren and especially when she went on her visit to William and Mary. And just saying like, you know, 'I just don't fit in here that I don't see myself fitting in here. And so you're talking about a person turning down the athletic scholarship in order to go to a place that would have been - obviously, by turning down a scholarship, more expensive and thus... Because she felt there was more for her and it, although she didn't continue with it - I think she had a great time in terms of the friends she made on team... And I think, overall, her college experience and her mental health was better for choosing that choice.


Lauren (36:09):

But I also do want to say like, thank you for remembering that. And it's just like, you know, when I think about that too, as a decision, I was in a very fortunate place of where my parents could say, 'take the money out of it. What do you want?' And I don't take that lightly. There's just so many ways to look at it. And now I'm in debt and I'm like, what would my life be like if I took the scholarship? But mental health-wise, like I would make that decision every time again. Because I only ended up playing basketball for two years of my college experience. So yeah, that's a great point.


Mary  (36:42):

Thank you so much for coming on and chatting with us and sharing this perspective. I think it's so important.


Dillon (36:50):

Anyway I can help out. Let me know.


Mary  (36:52):

Thanks for joining us today. As always, we love having you listen in with us and we are always excited to hear your thoughts, ideas, and contributions. Feel free to drop us a voice note or share your athletic journey and an email to us. We actually really love to hear it. We'll be back next week and until then, happy summit. We'll talk soon.