Surge of Female Athletes Earning Scholarships

November 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
National signing day is a time high school athletes officially commit to a college. But it's not an exclusive boys club. The Valley has become a gold mine for programs seeking talented young women.Eight of the ten Clovis West athletes signing their letters of intent were girls. Their signatures culminate years of hard work and sacrifice. It's paid off though ... because their families no longer have to worry about paying for college.

Cal Poly Golf Recruit Asia Adell said, "It obviously helps. A financial benefit. It releases a burden off my parents and that's great too."

Setter Melody Mandelbaum's off to Tulane to play volleyball. Girl power is in full effect at Clovis West.

Mandelbaum said, "I think it just shows dedication, that girls are working really hard to do well in their sport."

Janae Coffee is one of four girls from the Golden Eagle basketball team to earn a college scholarship.

Coffee said, "I didn't realize I could play college until I was freshman. I got my first letter and it was really an eye opener, like if I keep working hard I can get a scholarship and get my college paid for."

But Athletic Director Joe Aiello knows this a special group. He's quick to tell parents athletic scholarships are hard to come by.

Aiello said, "I think there were stats last year that only two-percent of student athletes get a college scholarship so we want them to know it's not the only way to go."

But Aiello adds girls sports are on the rise.

"I think there's more opportunities for girls now. But also with Title-9 at the collegiate level so there's more opportunities for them to get scholarships," said Aiello.

The Valley's always been a required stop for college coaches seeking recruits. But the gender disparity here was striking.

Coffee said, "Maybe the girls can beat a couple of boys in their sports."

Joe Aiello's even prouder of the fact the ten student-athletes who signed had an average GPA of 3.55.



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