The Best of Both Worlds
Many high school athletes claim they want the complete package for their collegiate experience, but in the end, most don’t receive it. Whether it’s a lack of opportunity or real conviction, student-athletes often sacrifice either academics or athletics when choosing a school. At Drake, it’s different. Our football players have both earned and are in a position to take advantage of the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds.
Of the 24 conferences that comprise Division I football, the Pioneer Football League and the Ivy League are the only ones that do not award football scholarships. Some people perceive that the players in these leagues were not able to garner a football scholarship out of high school. The reality at Drake is that more than half of our players were offered football scholarships; however, they turned down this money because they did not want to compromise their education or their overall college experience.
Our guys get it. They know that the four years they spend at Drake are about the next 40 of their life. Would they like to receive scholarships to play football? Absolutely. But will they compromise the best for something less than the best? Absolutely not.
When you assemble more than 100 Division I college football players with this depth of understanding and set of priorities, you end up with a special group of young men. The quality of our guys is exceptionally high both on and off the field.
In the last two years, Drake football went 17–5 and won back-to-back conference championships for the first time in 81 years. Four players were visited by NFL scouts. We played the first-ever American football game on the continent of Africa, and together we summited Mount Kilimanjaro. Two players were selected for the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team®, and in 2011, Drake football set a school record of 61 players on the Pioneer Football League Academic Honor Roll.
Unfortunately, many times an athletic scholarship becomes a business deal—the contract replaces the passion. But every morning at 5:15 in the off-season, when our players’ alarms go off, there is no business deal making them get up to work out. Only a pure drive to be their best and win a championship together. Then, after their workout, they head to class to earn an exceptional education. It truly is the best of both worlds.
—Chris Creighton, Head Football Coach