Sports scholarships: some tips to understand how they work

August 22, 2018

CAFA Group

Obtaining a sports scholarship to study in the United States is the goal of many student-athletes. However, the recruitment process has rules that you should know well. Along with our ally NCSA, we tell you some tips related to sports scholarships.

1. Sports scholarships are generally one-year agreements between the University/College and the Athlete that can be renewed. But there are also multi-year agreements.

2. Sports scholarships in the United States are offered by divisions I and II of the NCAA, the NAIA, and the NJCAA or Junior College. Division III of the NCAA does not allocate athletic scholarships, but some students may receive financial aid through other programs.

3. About 2% of high school students in the United States get scholarship, but the amount exceeds 3.1 million dollars only in DI and DII.

4. 100% athletic scholarships are not always awarded, but you can combine your athletic performance with your academic performance and add the maximum amount of scholarship.

5. The assigned amounts may vary from one University/College to another, depending on the sport and the athlete’s profile.

6. The universities/colleges in the "Ivy League" don’t assign sports scholarships, but can help with some type of financial aid.

7. In sports teams, there are more positions than scholarships to be assigned. But if you do not get the scholarship on the first try, there are other options. In the universities/colleges, in the United States, Walk-On mode exists. They are student-athletes that are not included in the roster; however, they have the opportunity to train with the first team if they are enrolled. Many coaches invite athletes under this modality, to be able to evaluate more closely and decide if they will allocate the scholarship.

8. Remember that to receive a scholarship in the NCAA, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. If you want to know more about the NCAA Eligibility Center, you can read this article. The NAIA and Junior College have their own requirements to apply, so you should be aware of it.

9. A coach may extend a verbal offer of scholarships during the recruitment process. However, these offers are not binding; they are unofficial verbal contracts between a coach and an athlete. Nothing is final until the student athlete signs his "national letter of intent".

10. A student-athlete may lose their scholarship. These are some of the situations in which it could occur:

a. It is possible that the agreement and the offer that the University has for you does not include a scholarship.

b. If you suffer injuries, and according the context in which you suffered it (e.g. outside the games or training with the team, is an aggravating factor), it could lead the University to withdraw the assigned scholarship.

c. Considering that the agreements are usually for one year, the University may not renew the scholarship. This happens for several reasons: Change of coach, the athlete has problems on or off the field, low athletic and / or academic performance, among others.

d. If you are not eligible to keep competing at the university level, a coach could suspend your scholarship.

11. Know the other forms of financial aid that the University can offer you to pay for your studies. This, in case of not receiving a full scholarship.

Remember that at CAFA we have coaches that can help you throughout the recruitment process. Complete this Athlete Form and they will contact you.

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