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The big question is, what does an athletic scholarship entail? An athletic scholarship is financial aid awarded to an individual either in partial or full tuition, based on their athletic abilities. The agreement is that an athlete will receive this aid in exchange for competing for that school under contract.
Because there are different divisions/leagues, there are different types and availability of scholarships.
Title IX ensures that there are the same amount of athletic scholarships and money awarded to female sports as there are male sports. Because of this, we get headcount and equivalency scholarships.
Headcount: These scholarships are include full tuition and cover the costs of room and board, food, and education. Headcount sports can only offer full scholarships and are restricted to the number of scholarships they can award.
Equivalency: There is no limit to the number of athletes on equivalency scholarships, but there is still a limit on scholarship money awarded. So, 20 athletes can divide up 10 scholarships, or a coach may give 5 athletes full and 15 partial scholarships.
Not all athletes are offered athletic scholarships. A school with a lot of academic praise or focus may allow athletic programs to recruit based on athletic achievement while offering academic aid because of a lack of athletic aid. Certain eligibility requirements need to be met.
Sometimes, unlike schools who recruit heavily through athletics, a school offering academic aid may not be able to waive or overlook some academic results that would normally not pass the exception. This means meeting the standard SAT scores, etc.
It’s also possible for high school athletes to receive grants from high schools, state funding, and other means to be assisted financially. Just because athletic scholarships aren’t available doesn’t mean there are no other resources to provide aid.
The allotted number of scholarships for different divisions and leagues is different. Different sports have their own sets of rules for recruiting as well as for scholarships.
For instance, consider this allotment of athletic scholarships just between the three divisions of the NCAA; this is the maximum amount of athletic scholarships given across that Division:
Division I - 74,243
Division II - 36,343
Division III - 0
Now let’s take a quick look at the other leagues that are allotted athletic scholarships:
NAIA - 25,778
NJCAA - 41,195
Alongside this information, here are 3 things every athlete should know about athletic scholarships.