According to the NCAA’s post regarding the Value of College Sports , more than 2.7 billion dollars worth of scholarships are awarded each year in Division I and II schools, and over the past ten years more than 17 billion dollars worth of scholarships have been granted. Unlike their counterparts, Division III schools are not allowed to provide athletic scholarships; however, they are able to offer both merit and need-based financial aid for their athletes.
Applicants interested in athletic scholarships are recommended to formally register with the NCAA Eligibility Center (in the past it was called the Clearinghouse). Here, they can learn about minimum qualifications including grade point averages, SAT, and ACT standards, as well as other pertinent information.
Athletic scholarships do not exist just for student/athletes who participate in sports. Depending on the college or university, lesser known opportunities exist for committed students. In an April, 2014 edition of ESPN The Magazine article titled Last Flap by writer Chris Jones, a 22 year-old finance major at Saint Joseph’s is highlighted, having earned a full scholarship for two of his four years at the college for representing the school as the “Hawk” – the school’s official feathered mascot.
Sports is not everything. There are many other characteristics of undergraduate life that deserve equal attention. For instance, did you participate in your school’s student government as a member of the student council? Did you sing in your school’s chorus or play in the band or write for the newspaper? Were you a member of the chess, math, science, or Model United Nation’s club or team?
But, for the student athlete, attending a school where one can continue to participate in an organized sports program should remain an important consideration. In fact, regardless of the pitfalls that may exist at any level of competition, athletic participation is something that should be encouraged and pursued at every level of schooling whenever possible.
So what ever happened to Max? As you recall, after weighing many options, Max chose to remain at Boston College because he felt a well-recognized Division I school could potentially do more for him in the future. For Max, he worked hard and made the most of his choice. He successfully earned his Bachelor’s degree and is now in his second year of law school.
A final note on athletic scholarships…
Starting in 2016, colleges will be authorized to offer compensation for the first time to scholarship recipients. These payments, at a minimum of 5,000 dollars per year, were as a result of the NCAA being found in violation of anti-trust laws, given that revenue derived from college athletics was drawing in an excess of 15 billion dollars per year. Additionally, positive shifts are being made in regards to the length and terms of scholarship packages as well. Earlier this month, the Big Ten Conference became the first major conference to guarantee four year scholarships across all sports. For many scholarship athletes, including those who are injured and unable to continue playing, those that underperform, etc., they are no longer at the coach’s discretion as to whether than can continue attending classes and playing a sport.