8 Amazing Facts About Athletic Scholarships

Are you a star high school athlete who is about to go to college?

If you are hoping to get an athletic scholarship offer from one of your top-choice schools so that you can shine on the court as you work on a college degree, this post is made for you.

Below, you will come across 8 of the most important facts about college athletes and athletic scholarships, too, some of which might surprise you. By the time you are through checking this out, you will have a much better idea of your odds of attending college free of charge or at a reduced cost as a student-athlete.

athletic scholarship

Chances of getting into Harvard are higher than getting an athletic scholarship

According to a report by the Harvard Crimson, the latest class had the most competitive admissions cycle in the entire history of the Ivy League — a record-low acceptance rate of 4.59% only.

Think that you are more likely to get an athletic scholarship offer than an acceptance letter from Harvard?

Then think again!

Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), which connects high school student-athletes with college coaches, confirms that less than 2% of all high schoolers who are athletes receive athletic scholarships. What’s more, the majority of athletic scholarships they get do not even cover the full cost of college.

If you plan on attending Harvard or any other Ivy League school, you have to be an excellent high schooler. And if you think about being an athletic scholar, you need to be a phenomenal student-athlete.

Full-ride athletic scholarships are only available for these sports

Want to earn a college degree without shelling out any dollar? Then aim to get a full-ride athletic scholarship.

Unfortunately, no matter how good a student-athlete you are, chances are that you won’t be able to attend college at no cost since only certain student-athletes are eligible for full-ride athletic scholarships.

Do you play any of the following sports in high school?

  • Men’s basketball
  • Men’s football
  • Women’s basketball
  • Women’s gymnastics
  • Women’s tennis
  • Women’s volleyball

If so and you’re really, really good at it, there is a possibility for you to get an athletic scholarship that covers each and every cost of college. That’s because the 6 college sports mentioned above offer full-ride athletic scholarships.

Also, they are only available at Division I and Division II schools, which are the most athletically competitive.

Fewer than 2% of all student-athletes in college wind up as professional athletes

Even if you’re a student-athlete at your top-choice college who is getting a full-ride athletic scholarship, there is no guarantee that you will go pro after earning your degree.

As a matter of fact, the NCAA says that less than 2% of NCAA athletes become professional athletes.

Different collegiate sports offer different probabilities of professional sports participation after college. Baseball is the highest probability, with up to 9% of baseball-playing college students ending up in the leagues. Meanwhile, those who partake in men’s and women’s basketball in college only have a 1% chance of becoming pro basketball players.

Collegiate football and soccer players have a 2% chance of winding up as professional kickers.

Due to the fact that there’s no guarantee that you will turn from a student-athlete to a professional sportsperson, consider getting high grades and earning your degree in order to have a lucrative career outside of sports.

The more college offers, the better the chances of a top athletic scholarship award

Above, we just talked about the kinds of collegiate sports you will have to play for your college to throw a full-ride athletic scholarship your way.

Fret not as playing any one of them is not the only means to be able to attend college cost-free.

One way to increase your chances of getting an athletic scholarship that takes care of anything and everything related to college is getting an offer from many different schools — chances are that the institution that wants you badly will whip up an irresistible offer, like a full-ride athletic scholarship, just for you to pick it.

Playing a critical role on the team can also boost your chances of winning a full-ride athletic scholarship.

In collegiate baseball, for instance, student-athlete pitchers tend to get a higher cash reward than infielders and outfielders. Meanwhile, when it comes to track and field, sprinters tend to receive higher offers than long jumpers. And in collegiate basketball, some of the best athletic scholarships wind up in the hands of point guards.


Division III schools don’t have athletic scholarships

Simply put, Division III schools are small private colleges. While they still participate in sports just like Division I and Division II schools, they tend to have the scantiest resources for their athletic teams.

It’s for this reason why schools that fall under the Division III category do not offer athletic scholarships.

This, however, doesn’t stop them from awarding money to some of their top athletes.

Just like other colleges and universities, Division III schools have merit-based scholarships, which are awarded to students who stand out not only in academics but also in standardized test scores, exceptional talent, leadership skills, community involvement and extracurriculars, such as sports.

As a matter of fact, it is said that merit-based scholarships Division III schools offer their athletes are some of the most competitive, many of which may cut tuition costs by more than 50%.

Athletic scholarships have to be renewed every year

Just because you have been awarded an athletic scholarship doesn’t mean you can rest assured that the rest of college will be easier on the pocket or absolutely free, depending on the type of the program awarded.

Annually, you will have to reapply for your athletic scholarship.

This means that the scholarship committee will check whether or not you are still eligible for it at the start of every academic year. Needless to say, you can bid your athletic scholarship adios if you fail to meet the requirements such as maintaining a certain GPA and keeping a certain level of excellence in sports.

In other words, it can be easy for a student-athlete to lose his or her scholarship if he or she becomes unsuccessful in both studies and athleticism.

Suffering from an injury that can affect your ability to play, for instance, may risk your athletic scholarship.

Shining very early is a must to impress college coaches scouting for fresh talents

Would you believe that some of the most aggressive and competitive college coaches have their eyes on future superstar college athletes as early as when they’re still in the 7th grade?

In most instances, they start assembling athletic records up to the end of 9th grade.

College coaches and the parents, during this time, typically have started getting in touch with one another, although it won’t take long before the student-athletes themselves take the reins of the recruitment process, which can help keep at bay conflicts between the coaches and the parents.


But established recruiting rules can vary based on factors such as age, sports and school division level. For instance, in some cases, college coaches may contact recruits only after January 1 of their sophomore year of high school.

Regardless of the governing rule, there is no denying that impressing early is key to being recruited.

However, it’s also important to keep in mind that, according to a report by the NCAA itself, only around 6% of high school student-athletes end up playing in the NCAA for their respective colleges.

Student-athletes, despite what many choose to believe, do not have it easy

Dribbling a basketball, kicking a football, swinging a tennis racket, balancing on a beam — earning a college degree seems fun and exciting and cost-free for student-athletes.

Alas, contrary to popular belief, that’s very far away from the truth.

We mentioned earlier that athletic scholarships do not last forever. Yearly, student-athletes have to reapply for them. And yearly, student-athletes must be able to meet the minimum requirements, usually keeping their GPA and athletic performance to a certain level.

And it’s because of this why being a student-athlete, especially one who relies on a scholarship program to be able to go to college, can be more challenging than it appears.

Besides their studies and participation in sports, they also have to worry about things such as extracurricular activities, social life, internship, staying in excellent shape, getting a good night’s sleep and many others.

It’s no wonder why, according to a study published by Northeastern University, 95% of male student-athletes and 85% of female student-athletes report higher stress compared to 52% of non-student-athletes.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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