Division I Athletic Scholarships
Division I is Not Giving Out as Much Athletic Money as You Think
Are you counting on full ride Division I athletic scholarships? Being awarded an athletic scholarship can be one of the most daunting pieces of the recruiting process. The full ride scholarship is rare for most sports. In fact, even half tuition is not as common as you might think.
This is the first in a four part series on the amount of scholarships actually available on college rosters. Today, we focus on Division I athletic scholarships. Once again, we went straight to the source and asked Division I college coaches.
There are two different categories for athletic scholarships: head count and equivalency sports. The sport you compete in drastically affects what kind of athletic scholarship you could receive.
In head count sports full scholarships are common. But the list of these NCAA sports is short: men’s basketball and football, women’s basketball, gymnastics, tennis, and volleyball. The NAIA has a similar list of head count sports.
Here’s what DI coaches say:
“We are fully funded. We have 12 full scholarships and we cover the cost of attendance. A scholarship covers, tuition fees, room, board and course related books. We also give more to cover all expected college expenses.” Coach Deitre Collins-Parker, Women’s Volleyball of San Diego State University
“Temple is a fully funded Division 1 program. This means that we have the full allotment of scholarships that the NCAA allows for gymnastics. That scholarship count is 12 full scholarships. When you are fully funded, you do not have the ability to break the scholarships up and offer partial scholarships. Any scholarship offered is a full scholarship. The scholarship includes room/board, tuition, books/ iPad, fees and cost of attendance. The cost of attendance is something new that the NCAA passed in the last few years which allows schools to give up to $5000 additional to student athletes to cover any additional costs that would relate to them being a student athlete. Not all colleges give the full $5000 in cost of attendance.” Coach Umme Salim-Beasley, Women’s Gymnastics of Temple University (now at Rutgers)
Volleyball and Gymnastics are going to carry rosters of 12 so all athletes on those rosters will have a full scholarship. Men’s basketball has 13 fully funded scholarships and women’s basketball has 15. Football’s bowl subdivision has 85 fully funded scholarships. If you are in one of these sports and can play at this level you don’t have to continue reading. You are covered. Just get yourself recruited.
If you are in any other sport, termed equivalency sports, you need to be aware of the available athletic scholarships.
Equivalency sports are those sports in which the coaches have a certain dollar amount that can be split among multiple athletes in any proportion they choose. All non-head count sports are equivalency sports (see the list above). What does this actually mean? It means a full scholarship is rare. It is in the coach’s best interest to get as many high caliber athletes as possible and so they divide the pot.
To see the number of scholarships your sport has and more about head count and equivalency sports, go to Little Known Secrets About Athletic Scholarships
So, is Division I where all the money is? Get a coach to sign you and the athletic scholarship will take care of the rest. Or NOT! The reality for Division I athletes is quite different.
Are all equivalency sports fully funded?
A fully funded sports program has the maximum allowable scholarships that the NCAA allows. For example, Division I Softball allows the value of 12 full scholarships. A typical Division 1 Softball program has 25-30 ladies on the roster. The coach will divide the 12 full scholarships among the entire team as they see fit.
And what’s more: NOT all programs are fully funded.
“Well the NCAA allows for 12 full scholarships for a softball program, however not all universities are fully funded. I know some D1 universities that have 1 scholarship and some that have 12 scholarships. It is not consistent within conferences either, some teams may have 6 and their conference opponents might have 12. It makes it difficult to compete, but as a coach you cannot use that as a crutch. You need to find other ways regardless. We for example, are not fully funded and there is not one player on our roster that has a full athletic scholarship. It is divided up among as many as possible.” Coach Shayne Lotito, Softball of Bryant University
“There is false impression that every division 1 athlete gets a ‘full ride’ and it’s just not the case. I think we are similar to most D1 schools where some student-athletes receive what could be classed as ‘full scholarships’, some may receive 40-70%, some may receive 25%, and there may be a couple of ‘walk on’ players also. The maximum number of scholarships a women’s NCAA D1 soccer program can use is 14 and this is typically broken up and divided by the coach. Not every D1 program is given this maximum to use though. Other sources of scholarship funding for students can also come into play with this.” Coach Adrian Blewitt of the University of Arkansas Little Rock (now at Army)
The point is, you cannot place all of your hopes on getting Division I athletic scholarships. You need to plan and prepare to get scholarships and aid outside of athletics.
Is there any other money available?
A financial package consists of more than just athletic money. Financial packages also include academic scholarships, federal aid, institutional aid, outside scholarships, and loans.
One of the most important things you can focus on is your academics. High GPA’s and good SAT/ACT scores will often provide more money than athletic scholarships. They also make you more attractive to a coach, because they may not need to spend as much of their athletic money on you.
Many Division 1 athletes have to work during the off season and summer to help pay for school.
“In addition, we use a lot of academic support to help us supplement for the lack of athletic money, which makes it crucial that we recruit players that have strong academics, honors/AP courses, and good test scores. We also have players that are key to our programs success that are not on athletic scholarship at all, but that does not take away their worth to me or the other coaches.” Coach Shayne Lotito, Softball of Bryant University
“Some students may receive academic scholarships from their school, receive federal aid, or outside scholarships. The top players don’t always receive the most athletic scholarship since they may receive some of these ‘other’ sources of funding. As a coach, if we don’t have to put as much of our own athletic money into a student-athlete’s package because of this ‘other funding’, it then allows us to stretch our own athletic scholarship money further and allows us to build a stronger squad. We also have some players who work in the off season to make ends meet and help pay for school or any expenses.” Coach Adrian Blewitt of the University of Arkansas Little Rock (now at Army)
Division I athletic scholarships are not covering the tuition of every athlete. Many athletes who are getting regular playing time are getting half tuition or even less in athletic scholarship money. On every equivalency sport roster there is a wide range of scholarships. There may be a few players who have a full scholarship (but not always). There will most certainly be dollar amounts in the middle and there will be athletes who are receiving no athletic money at all.
The good news is that athletic money is not the only money available. The complete financial package is what is important, not how much athletic money you receive. It doesn’t matter if you get a discount or “athletic aid,” what really matters is how much you owe.
You can absolutely control is how hard you study and the effort you put into academics. Get good grades. Study for the ACT/SAT and take them multiple times if necessary.
Start contacting coaches now if you have not already. Work hard to get coaches to recruit you. The more options you have available the better off you will be in finding an affordable school where you can continue playing the sport you love.
Division I Athletic Scholarships are limited, but college coaches calling you shouldn’t be!
Here is another great article about scholarships: 3 Reasons College Coaches Won’t Give You an Athletic Scholarship
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