Ask an Athlete: Do College Athletes in Sports Outside of Football and Basketball Get Scholarship Money?

Ask an Athlete: Do College Athletes in Sports Outside of Football and Basketball Get Scholarship Money? Ask an Athlete: Do College Athletes in Sports Outside of Football and Basketball Get Scholarship Money?

When it comes to college sports, football and basketball capture the most attention from the media and the public. Successful high school football and basketball players also receive attention revolving around where they decide to play at the collegiate level. Due to its dominance in the media, some believe that these are the only two sports that provide scholarships to its players–but while at times it may seem that football and basketball are the only sports that offer scholarships, that is not the case. Oftentimes, universities offer scholarships for every NCAA sport that they offer…they just might not be full rides.

Related: 4 Key Terms To Help You Understand Athletic Scholarships

In a 2015 study conducted by Scholarship Stats, 900 football teams from universities of different divisions were polled about their scholarship statistics. Based on the school studied, FBS DI football gave out the most money with an average of $19,557 per scholarship. This total drops drastically to FCS football which is still a DI sport. The average amount of money given per FCS DI scholarship was $11,631. DII football teams in the study gave about half of that total, with their average scholarship being $5,315. 

Scholarship Stats conducted another  study in 2016 where they expanded their research to every NCAA DI sports team. For this study, the data was gathered for the average scholarship per team. As expected, football and basketball were the highest averages for men’s sports but there were others who weren’t far behind. Basketball averaged $38,246 per team and football averaged $36,070. A surprising third place was ice hockey, which averaged $31,756 per team. For the women, however, ice hockey and gymnastics capture the top two spots, averaging $41,693 and $40,172 respectively. 

Related: 3 Myths and Facts About Athletic Scholarships

It is also important to note that D3 doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, but many athletes fund their education through academic aid. Athletes at the D1 and D2 level can also supplement partial athletic scholarships with academic scholarships, and it’s smart to look for these scholarships–coaches love “discount athletes” that come to campus with a chunk of their education paid for. That means the coach can spend the rest of their allotted scholarships on athletes who might need more. 

Even though college football and basketball receive the most media attention and television appearances, they are not the only sports that players can receive scholarships for. Based on money and number of scholarships, football and basketball do rank among the top but that does not mean players of other sports should be discouraged. Regardless of the sport an athlete plays, there will be colleges that offer scholarships for worthy players. 
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* Originally published on March 3, 2023, by Kyle Brady

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