Athletic Scholarships: A Tough Competition
As a student-athlete, are you getting the exposure you need to snag a sports scholarship?
Parents and students often wonder if they are getting the right opportunities and exposure at their high school to play on the collegiate level and be in the running for sought-after athletic scholarships.
NCAA ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS
Kent Partridge, Sports Information Director at UWA explained how the athletic scholarship process works based on the NCAA Partial Scholarship Model. “NCAA Division II programs operate on equivalency scholarships, or what the NCAA calls the Partial Scholarship Model, which makes the chances of receiving a full-ride scholarship extremely rare. For instance, we may have 100 or more football players, but we have just 36 total scholarships to divide between them. Other examples would be a baseball or softball team with 30ish players, and nine and seven scholarships to divide among them, respectively. Most scholarships are for tuition and fees, or just a flat amount that is far from covering all college expenses.”
Stipulations/requirements for receiving these scholarships:
“The student-athlete must have enough athletic ability to convince coaches you can play and contribute, plus earn at least a 2.2 GPA in your core courses. Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching your core-course GPA on the Division II sliding scale, which balances your test score and core-course GPA. If you have a low test score, you need a higher core-course GPA to be eligible.”
Percentage of UWA athletes are on Scholarship:
“88% of 324 total student-athletes at UWA receive some amount of scholarship. That would be 284 total student-athletes.”
SEEKING THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES
Some coaches advise enrolling student-athletes in the biggest school around to enhance his/her competition. If your student is excelling in their division and would benefit from transferring to a larger school, that could be a consideration. However, that is not the only hope your athlete has for succeeding or earning a scholarship. Don’t rule out junior colleges either.
ADVICE FOR STUDENTS:
- Make sure to stay on top of your academic and community endeavors.
- Research who the recruiting coordinators are at athletic programs you are interested in and don’t be afraid to contact them.
- Keep your options open.
- Weigh factors such as where you can obtain the course of study you are interested in and where you are a fit for program needs.
- Take advantage of recruiting visits and ask questions.
- Academics make a big difference in how much scholarship money a student receives because athletic and academic money can be used together.
TRUST THE COACHES
Parents need to trust their student-athletes coaches to lead them on the right track and assist them with these steps. They will be able to advise you on an educated level whether or not they believe your student has what it takes to seriously pursue a collegiate athletic scholarship. They will make the film from games and practice available to the athlete for self-improvement, and this film may be used for self-promotion when it comes to college recruitment. Athletes will likely be expected to compile a highlight video to share with college recruiters. While there are many steps to take individually as a student-athlete, the most important piece of advice is that parents and students must work with coaches to ultimately decide what will be most beneficial for the student.
The NCAA has scholarship maximums allowed for each sport. Kent Partridge breaks down the maximum for UWA sports to provide further understanding:
- Baseball – 9
- Men’s/Women’s Basketball – 10
- Cross-Country Track – 12.6
- Football – 36
- Men’s Soccer – 9
- Women’s Soccer – 9.9
- Softball – 7.2
- Men’s Tennis – 4.5
- Women’s Tennis – 6
- Volleyball – 8
- Men’s/Women’s Rodeo – 16
Additional Tips for Parents:
- The first step is to create an NCAA Eligibility Center account through https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/
- Meet deadlines. Once your student-athlete is registered for the NCAA Eligibility Center, you will receive email notifications regarding assignments and deadlines.
- Go to camps early. Visibility is critical in the recruiting process.
- Keep Track. Get good quality film and stats on your child.
- Be realistic. Not all student-athletes will go to NCAA BCS (Div.1A) schools. Do not miss out on a scholarship opportunity because you fail to consider FCS (Div.1-AA), Div II, or Div. III schools.
- Don’t believe everything you hear! DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.