Many boys and girls grow up dreaming of playing sports in college and the pro ranks. However, of the nearly eight million students currently participating in high school athletics in the United States, only 460,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools and of that group, only a fraction will realize their goal of becoming a professional athlete.
Track and field is changing, a college scholarship is not the only option. I support and will continue to advocate with parents and athletes in this endeavor.
Three junior athletes have signed pro contracts, two Jamaican and one from the United State of America.
Michael O’Hara, who won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 110m hurdles at Champs 2015, will be represented by agent Ricky Simms of PACE Sports Management and managed by Nugent Walker, the same team who has guided the professional career of the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt.
Jaheel Hyde cemented his pro status by signing a shoe/apparel deal with sports giant PUMA brokered by his management company (GCMC). This association will directly benefit his pursuits as a student athlete who balances academics and sports. Jaheel will be pursuing tertiary studies at the University of the West Indies and will continue training under the watchful eyes of his coaches who have led him to three (3) global titles, as he aims at Rio 2016.
Kaylin Whitney, who ran the fastest-ever 100m and 200m sprints by an under-18 woman last year, announced she turned professional and signed with Nike on her 17th birthday Monday
These charts (taken from the NCAA website) show the probability of competing in athletics beyond high school – both college and professionally. The percentages are based on estimated data. So I say to young talented athletes take the leap in the pro early, just ensure your contract includes continue education.