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Being a D1 athlete, any sport, male or female, is more valued by future employers than what school or even GPA (within limits). Fact. it shows a proven commitment to excellence and inner drive that takes a lot of the risk out of the hiring process.
Some big companies hire elite athletes over ostensibly more qualified applicants to compete on their Corporate teams.
I have two in college and I have to say your point about kids failing out is a bit off base. In our time it was a real possibility, today the schools do everything to not only keep the kids in but they also push to get them through in 4 years. This is 100% due to all of the college rankings and information flow that is now available. And for parents dropping a couple hundred grand on the 'college experience' these stats are very important in deciding which college to send your kid. My oldest is at a school where 99% return after freshmen year and 87% graduate in four years and no way did my school years ago come close to those #'s.
Total opposite experience. Also played D1 four years at an elite academic school. Hockey was intensive, but because all there was was going to school, socializing and hockey, and not actually working for a living, there was plenty of time to study and do great academically. I remember long road trips all the time where there was ample time to read books and study, and not being preoccupied with partying at every available opportunity, i spent many nights in the libraries or dorm room studying, including weekends. It's about discipline. Some kids have it, others don't. It's not like you're playing hockey and going to team meetings 24/7.