A full-ride scholarship to a Division I school is every athlete's dream. For many, it’s also their best chance at receiving a college education, and thus their best chance at a comfortable life.
Every year around 180,000 athletic scholarships are given out to Division I and Division II athletes. That means most people are not aware of what the process is like and may have some wrong ideas.
Let's expose three of the most common myths about athletic scholarships that are widely believed.
You don’t need a good GPA to earn an athletic scholarship.
Oftentimes, when an athlete signs a contract to play a sport for a school under scholarship, there is a minimum GPA they must keep. The NCAA has its own minimum requirements that serve as a baseline for the athletes.
According to NCAA rules, students must complete 16 core courses adhering to the NCAA's specifications and timeline and maintain at least a 2.3 GPA in those core courses to be eligible for a scholarship. These laws are in addition to passing a certain score on college admission tests like the SAT or ACT.
Although these are the requirements, having a low GPA could cause an athlete to be placed on Academic Redshirt protocol for their first year at a university.
Once in school, athletes must continue to meet NCAA academic requirements. They must also adhere to GPA requirements set by their respective schools.
So, for many people who are under the impression that College Athletes are only rare inhabitants of the classroom and are only required to pass their classes, that is not the case. In fact, schools like Baylor, Wisconsin, and Idaho State have a long history of athletes with above 3.0 GPAs.
Everyone who earns a scholarship gets a full-ride.
The average cost of public school tuition is $21,184 and the average cost of private school tuition is $35,057. The average amount for an athletic scholarship in 2021 is $18,000.
So, for those that thought all college athletes who earn scholarships were not paying for their education, that is simply not true. Most athletes must still pay for a portion of their tuition, it is also common for students to have to pay for the majority of their college education.
Only the best of the best amateur athletes receive full-ride scholarships. And many schools do not even offer full-ride scholarships.
For those schools that do offer them, they are given strict limits to how many they can give out. For example, an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision team is allowed 85 scholarships per year for 85 athletes.
Other major sports such as women's basketball, tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics have similar restrictions. Other sports however are all allowed to split a determined amount of money across as many athletes as they wish. These are called equivalency sports.
Athletic Scholarships are only given for major sports.
Many people believe that only the big-ticket sports are the ones that give out scholarships. The truth is that schools give out athletic scholarships for everything from Football and Basketball, to Rowing and Cheerleading.
So, no matter what sport you play, even if it is lesser-known, you can still work your way to receiving major financial aid. In 2020, the National Society of High School Scholars Student-Athlete Scholarship was awarded to a Freshman cheerleader at Cornell University.
An example of the wide spectrum of sports that receive endowments from national scholarship funds.
It is important to note that athletic scholarships are not only for Division I sports. Both Division II and III schools receive scholarships as well.
Only a handful of the many high school athletes in America are fortunate enough to be granted a scholarship to play at the collegiate level. So it is understandable why so many false truths exist regarding how these scholarships work. Hopefully, this article helped shed some light on what is fact and what is fiction.