NCAA Scholarships Explained
In the United States, the National Collegiate Athletic Association covers the spectrum of college level sports and is the main athletic conference. The NCAA offers a number of scholarships to its athletes at the Division I and Division II levels. These scholarships usually cover the entire tuition fee, plus some extra expenses. If you are a Division III athlete, you may not get a full scholarship, but will get some financial aid in the form of grants. These grants are often based on your performance and can cover more than 50% of the tuition fees.
In the Division I and II, sports are classified into two categories:
1. Headcount Sports
2. Equivalency Sports
In headcount sports such as football, there are a fixed number of scholarships that cover everything from tuition to room and boarding fees. If, for example, there are 100 scholarships in Division I football, then only 100 players can get that scholarship. In most colleges, not all scholarships are given to the students; some are kept aside for any transfers, walk-ons, etc.
In equivalency sports such as baseball, there are a fixed number of schloarships that, again, cover tuition, room and boarding fees. However, in equivalency sports, colleges can award these scholarships howsoever they wish. They may choose to give you 25% scholarship, another player 50%, and a third player 100%.
For obvious reasons, there are more scholarships per team in Division I than Division II. As a high school athlete, you must make sure that you spread your efforts to get into a sports program across Division I, II, and III colleges. The competition in Division I colleges is extremely difficult, and since most high school athletes focus all their attention on getting into a DI school, they miss out on getting even inot a DII or DIII school where the may have been eligible to receive 50% or more in scholarship. Thus, one piece of advice I can give you as an athlete is to cast your net far and wide when it comes to getting into a college sports program.