College baseball scholarships are highly sought after and for good reason. With the increasing costs of attending college, fine tuning your baseball skills is a great way to potentially lessen that financial burden. Some of the top academic institutions can set you back $60,000 an academic year. For these schools, an athletic scholarship could save a student-athlete close to a quarter of a million dollars over four years. It’s hard for a high school student to understand the impact of student debt. It’s not until much later when a player comes to truly realize how helpful their scholarship was and how it has positively impacted their financial situation.
How common are they?
Not every player that picks up a baseball is on the fast track to athletic related financial assistance. There’s also a lot of work between point A and point B. The players who receive these scholarships typically have spent hours and thousands of dollars through lessons, camps, tournaments, and showcases. Looking at the bigger picture, there is a lot of time and money invested to get a player to the point where he is receiving meaningful scholarship offers.
The baseball journey is not all about earning a scholarship though. If you were to speak with most players and families, the time and money is spent because they love the game and want to have an opportunity to play at the next level. Earning a baseball scholarship along the way is an added bonus. As a player, it’s a great feeling knowing that all of the hard work has paid off and will help you from a financial standpoint.
“Full Ride” Baseball Scholarships
Full rides are not as common as you would think. Baseball is categorized as an equivalency sport, meaning that scholarships can be divided up and offered to players as partial scholarships. Additionally, many programs aren’t fully funded. Baseball is not a revenue generating sport for NCAA institutions, so these programs typically receive fewer scholarships than what the NCAA allows.
How long are baseball scholarships good for
By signing a national letter of intent, a player is guaranteeing their athletic related financial aid for their first academic year. In most cases, the program is no longer obligated to provide that same level of financial assistance after the first year. Having said that, scholarships are generally renewed annually. A common misconception among players is that their scholarship is locked in for four years, but injuries, redshirts, and misconduct can result in the loss or reduction of their scholarship.
The NCAA allows each Divison 1 baseball program to have 11.7 scholarships. These scholarships can be divided between a maximum of 27 players. For a fully funded program with the maximum roster size of 35, this essentially leaves room for eight walk-ons. Walk-ons are not initially offered athletic related financial aid, but they can earn that by performing at a high level. If you spend some time on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen videos of coaches announcing to their team that a walk-on player earned a scholarship. It’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for a player to take a shot on a school and have that materialize into a financial benefit. Lastly, the minimum scholarship amount the program can offer a player is 25%.
Division 2 baseball programs are allowed a maximum of 9 scholarships. The distribution of the scholarships works differently than that of Division I, because there isn’t a minimum scholarship percentage that a player can be offered. As a result, players can receive as little as a few hundred dollars to help out with books and other miscellaneous costs. Division II programs that are not fully funded have to stretch their scholarship money as far as possible. Being allowed to offer small increment scholarships helps with that. We’ve seen several programs with two or three scholarships spread them out over fifteen to twenty players on their roster.
Division III programs are not allowed to offer athletic related scholarships. Having said that, these institutions often put together attractive academic related financial aid packages that can rival athletic scholarships at the other Division levels. For players that are interested in the playing at the D3 level it’s extremely important to have a quality high school GPA, as this is sometimes used as a qualifier for these academic scholarship programs. Continued academic success will also be important as you will likely have to maintain a certain GPA to keep the scholarship.