Scholarships by gender and sport
The chart at the bottom of this article shows the actual number of athletic scholarships for college the NCAA says a school may offer. It does not mean that all schools actually do offer the stated number of scholarships.
Using field hockey as an example, you see that division I teams can offer the financial equivalent of 12 athletic scholarships for college each year, whereas division II field hockey teams can offer the equivalent of 6.3. If a school from each level both had a cost of attendance of $20,000 and they fully funded their programs, the division I coach has $240,000 to distribute across her roster and the division II coach has $126,000 to disperse across hers. Both teams will carry rosters much larger than 12 or 6.3, so there is not enough money to give all players full athletic scholarships. In fact, less than half of all NCAA division I or II players receive any athletic scholarships for college money. How this money is split depends on the coach and the positional needs of the program each year. There is no set formula. In general though, those who can score, or are good at keeping others from scoring, get most of the money.
What kinds of scholarships are available?
A full athletic scholarship is when all of your tuition, room and board is paid for. The NCAA mandates that three division I sports must provide full scholarships for a specific number of roster spots in order to maintain their D-I classification: football (85), men’s basketball (12) and women’s basketball (15). No other sports have such requirements.
Scholarships are renewed each year. It is very rare to not have a scholarship renewed unless you have broken school rules and are suspended or you fail out of college. However, it is not unprecedented to lose your scholarship, or some of it, because the coach is giving it to another player, a top recruit, or you just did not play well enough to keep it.
Most sports offer athletes partial scholarships. This is where the coach awards you money that pays for part of your college costs. This amount can increase or decrease from year to year, at times depending on your performance.
Things to think about regarding athletic scholarships:
* Will a partial athletic scholarship be better than a financial aid package at a non-scholarship school? Not always.
· Because many college students take longer than four years to graduate, will you still be awarded athletic scholarship money after your athletic eligibility runs out?
· If you are injured playing in college, will your scholarship be honored all four years? Most times, yes.
· Is the amount you're offered as a freshman at least the amount you receive all four or five years? Typically this is the case, but not always.
National Letter of Intent
Any offer of a scholarship is not final until you have been sent and signed the National Letter of Intent. Until that NLI is signed, there are no guarantees of anything. All NCAA schools use the National Letter of Intent. It is a legally binding contract that says the school will give you a certain athletic aid award in exchange for one year of attendance and participation at their school. If you sign an NLI with one school, but enroll at another school that is also part of the NLI system (all NCAA schools are), you’ll face a stiff penalty and won’t be able to play right away.
Being awarded an athletic scholarship comes with a certain expectation and responsibility. You cannot take the money and run; you must participate in your sport to get the money. Very few people are awarded any athletic aid, let alone full scholarships. There is more money available for being an above-average student.
By Dave Galehouse, varsityedge.com and Ray Lauenstein, athletesadvisor.com, authors of The Making of a Student Athlete: Succeeding in the College and Recruiting Process.