College baseball scholarships are highly sought after, and for good reason. The costs associated with attending college keep rising. 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. 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. Most players and families spend time and money 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. The NCAA categorizes baseball as an equivalency sport, which means programs can divide up scholarships and offer them to players as partial scholarships. Furthermore, many programs do not have full funding. 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 no longer has an obligation to provide that same level of financial assistance after the first year. Having said that, programs generally renew scholarships on an annual basis. However, many players mistakenly think that they guarantee their scholarship for four years by signing an NLI. In reality, injuries, redshirts, or misconduct may reduce or take away 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%.
The NCAA permits Division 2 baseball programs to offer a maximum of 9 scholarships. Scholarship distribution works differently in comparison to Division I as there is no minimum scholarship percentage that can be offered to a player. 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.
Athletic related scholarships are not permissible for Division III programs. Having said that, these institutions often put together attractive academic related financial aid packages. These packages can rival athletic scholarships at the other Division levels. Players interested in playing at the D3 level should prioritize having a quality high school GPA. Many academic scholarship programs use GPA as a qualifier. Continued academic success in college will also be important. For these scholarships, student-athletes will likely have to maintain a certain GPA to keep the scholarship.