15+ College Athletic Scholarships Facts You Should Know

We won’t ignore the fact that assumptions can really be deadly, especially in critical situations concerning finances. And, when you or your kid is anticipating free funds without proper college athletic scholarships facts, it could be harmful.

One thing we want to emphasize before we list these facts is that even though these scholarships are competitive they are not impossible to get. Also, they don’t stop you from getting other financial aid like hunting scholarships, professional scholarships, teaching awards, shooting scholarships, or even stem scholarships.

If you’re not on a full-ride scholarship, then you can apply for other financial aid.

College athletic scholarships facts
College athletic scholarships facts

College Athletic Scholarships Facts You Should Know

Before you proceed with these facts and numbers, you should note that some facts may be hard to swallow, and some of them have harsh realities that nothing can be done. But let’s start with some amazing sweet facts first.

1. There are 130,000 athletic scholarships 

The good news is there are lots of scholarships for student-athletes in different division levels, the tough news is that they are extremely competitive, especially for full-ride scholarships.

2. Scholarships are Mostly One Year at a Time

Knowing that no fixed scholarships and amount runs for the entire 4 years is one of the college athletic scholarship facts you need to remember. It all boils down to you doing exactly or better than what your head coach wants or expects, if you maintain a high standard of athletic and academic performance you will likely maintain a high Scholarship amount.

3. Only 6 Sports Offer Full-ride Scholarships 

These 6 sports include Men’s Football; Men’s Basketball; Women’s Basketball; Women’s Gymnastics; Women’s Tennis; and Women’s Volleyball. Also, these are NCAA D1 Sports, and they are all head count sports.

4. D1 Men’s Football Have the Highest Scholarships 

College Football brings in the highest revenue of any other NCAA sport by a lot of gaps, it has the highest competition, and very large football roasters. In life, whatever generates more money receives a better cut, right?

So it is in this situation, men’s FBS football generates the highest money, therefore they give out the highest scholarships. However, it is extremely competitive to join the D1 Men’s Football, and lots of student-athletes are queuing for this opportunity.

5. Only Head Count Sports Can Receive Full-ride Scholarships

Knowing that headcount sports are sports that award full-ride scholarships is one of the college athletic scholarships facts you should note. These scholarships will cover your tuition, room, and board, books, and some course fees. 

Whereas equivalency sports offer partial scholarships. For these partial scholarships, depending on the sports and school, you can get funds that can cover a huge portion of college costs or very little. 

6. Only Approximately 6.5% of Student-Athlete will Compete At the Collegiate Level

According to Sarah Daren, a featured writer on Today Show website wrote that only 500,000 out of 8 million high school student-athletes will compete in college-level athletics. 

But that’s not all, the most disturbing part is only 130,000 of these students will receive scholarships. And, the number even decreases to a fraction when you are measuring only those that will receive full-ride scholarships.

7. Athletic Scholarships Are only Offered in Four (4) Athletic Associations

Only NCAA Division 1, NCAA Division 2, NAIA, and NJCAA offer college scholarships, NCAA Division 3 and others don’t offer scholarships.

8. D1 & D2 Produce the Highest Scholarship Amounts

Since these two divisions, D1 especially generates the highest revenue for schools, it also means they have lots of money to spend on their student-athletes. There are more than $2.7 billion in scholarship funds for these two divisions alone.

However, only head count sports in D1 offer full-ride scholarships, all D2 scholarships are partial.

9. Ivy League Schools Don’t Offer Athletic Scholarships

Unfortunately, Ivy League Schools don’t provide Athletic Scholarships, but they offer need-based financial aid and scholarships which apply to both student-athletes and regular students.

10. You Don’t Need an Athletic Scholarship to Compete

There are more team members than there are scholarships to give out, so you’re not hopeless in competing in collegiate athletics even if you didn’t get a scholarship, student-athletes like these are called walk-ons. The good part of one of these college athletic scholarships facts is that you can be a walk-on in your first year, then with enough effort, you’ll become a player with a scholarship the next year.

11. Students can Lose Athletic Scholarships

As sad as it may sound, you can lose your scholarship, here are some of the reasons.

  • The major reason is mostly when you get a verbal offer from the head coach especially when he/she is having a conversation with your family (more on this later).
  • Your scholarship might not be renewed the next year due to bad behavior, a change of coach, poor performance, or even a serious injury that lasted longer.
  • You started performing poorly, academically or you’re violating some school rules.

12. Verbal Offers are Non-binding

The coach must have seen potential in your performance and might verbally promise you a scholarship, please relax, it’s Non-binding which usually prevents other college coaches from signing you. So, until you sign the National Letter of Intent, you can’t boast of any scholarship yet.

In some cases, the NLI doesn’t include scholarship aid, so you should read properly, or ask the coach.

Fortunately, several coaches take their verbal offer seriously, which when not kept adds a bad reputation to their name and recruiting journey.

13. Less Than 2% of College Student-athletes Make it to Professional Athlete

I believe this is one of the college athletic scholarships facts that are hard to digest depending on the angle you’re from. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your intent), even if you’re one of the students that receive full-ride scholarships, you might not make it to pro athletics after graduation.

It’s even worse for men and women basketball players, you only have a 1% chance of making it to pro athletics. The good news for baseball student-athletes is they have a 9% chance of hitting pro.

14. NCAA Division 3 Teams Don’t have Any Scholarship

We know we’ve said this before, but we need to make it a header and explain better and why. D1 has the highest scholarships because they provide the highest revenue, whereas D3 doesn’t give out scholarships because they generate little or no revenue.

But that doesn’t mean the school can’t decide to provide scholarships to some of their top-performing athletes, and D3 players still have chances of getting merit-based scholarships.

15. Early Brilliant Performance is Paramount

It will be shocking to note that as we speak, some top scouts are watching some 7th-grade high school student-athletes, and as of 9th grade they have gathered some records. So you or your kid must start performing well on time, and not just in sports but also academically.

16. Becoming a Student-athlete is Very Stressful

This is another college athletic scholarships fact that is painful to hear. Becoming a student alone is not easy, then becoming a student that has to perform in sports and still do so well that you’ll maintain the requirements for scholarships, is so stressful. Even Northeastern University did a report and realized it was true, they noticed that 95% of male student-athletes and 85% of female student-athletes report higher stress compared to 52% of non-student-athletes.


We believe that these college athletic scholarships facts have opened your eyes to both beautiful and ugly things in college sports scholarships. We would repeat, this doesn’t stop you from enrolling for other scholarships especially if you didn’t get a full-ride scholarship.

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