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Sports Recruiting vs. Sports Scholarship Process

sports recruiting vs scholarships

When talking about the process of getting asked to join a college sports team, the terms “sports recruiting” and “sports scholarship” are often used interchangeably. However, there are actually a lot of key differences between the sports recruiting process and process of getting a scholarship. Here is what you need to know.


Not All Colleges Offer Sports Scholarships

The three organizations who regulate athletic scholarship in the United States are the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA. There are over 2,000 colleges and universities who participate in these organizations. However, that doesn’t mean every school which has a sports programs offers sports scholarships.

There are many colleges and universities which don’t have any sports scholarships. Further, scholarships may only be offered for certain sports or certain divisions. Division 3 sports typically don’t have any scholarships available, and certain sports don’t offer scholarships even at the Division 2 level.


Getting Recruited Doesn’t Mean You Will Get a Scholarship

Just because a coach has shown interest in signing you to the team, it doesn’t mean that you will be offered a scholarship. Coaches are only allowed to offer a certain number of scholarships. For example, NCAA Division 1 soccer (football for us in the UK) coaches were allowed to give out 9.9 scholarships in the 2014-2015 year. These scholarships are often divided up between team members. So, even if you do get a scholarship offer, the chances of you getting a full ride scholarship are slim.

Bear in mind that sports scholarships aren’t the only way to get money for school. Many colleges and universities in the United States offer academic scholarships, and you may be able to get a scholarship or grant from a private organization.


Sports Scholarships Can Be Negotiated

You can take steps to increase your chances of getting noticed by a coach (such as making a great recruiting video, sports CV, and writing personalized letters to coaches). But there isn’t any room for negotiation: you are either accepted to the team or not. However, you can negotiate for a better sports scholarship.

If a coach has expressed interest in signing you to the team, you can be assertive and make demands. This is often very difficult for students and their parents because they don’t want to come off as pushy or ungrateful, and many are just thrilled at the idea of being on the team – even if it comes with a high tuition price tag. Having a professional scholarship recruiter can help at this point as they will be able to negotiate with coaches for you to make sure you get the most favourable offers.

Image credit: “20121220 Jabari Parker verbal commitment press conference team hats” by TonyTheTiger – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Want to learn more about how to get a sports scholarship in the United States? Fill out the free online application form to see if you are eligible.

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