What Sports Get Full Scholarships? (6 Sports for Full Scholarship Chances)

Getting a full scholarship whether it’s full-ride to study engineering, agriculture, medicine, etc, is the dream of any student and parents because it opens doors to several opportunities. Not only will you graduate by spending little or no money on school fees, but you will also be recognized in several offers, including having a secured job immediately after graduation.

Just like every other full-ride scholarship, these sports for full scholarship chances are extremely competitive, you don’t only have to be a high performer in a particular sport, but you have to have a very good grade, with leadership skills. You should note that millions of student-athletes graduate from high school, but only a fraction make it to collegiate athletics, and even a very tiny fraction make it to NCAA Division 1 level, who are those that receive these full-ride scholarships.

Don’t assume sports is the only way you can get scholarships in college, some governments provide full-tuition scholarships, and you can still earn scholarships by studying online.

How Sports Scholarships Promote Sporting Activities

The truth is, the major reason most parents allow their kids to compete in college athletics is because of their scholarships, because most of these students come from impoverished homes, i.e. 86% of college athletes (this is sad to say and write, but it’s true).

So imagine there wasn’t any scholarship, then you’ll realize you wouldn’t be hearing most of the names of top athletes that came from college. 

what sports get full scholarships

What Sports Get Full Scholarships

Let’s start by emphasizing that it’s harder to get sports scholarships, especially a full-ride scholarship than it’s been advertised. Also, NCAA D1 & D2, NAIA, and JUCO are the only divisions that award scholarships, whereas D1 awards the highest number and prize of scholarships.

Here is the catch, it’s very competitive to join any Division I team, and if you succeed in joining, then you have a very high chance of getting a full-ride scholarship. Besides, you can still take advantage of other athletic sports that provide different kinds of scholarships.

To answer your question on what sports get full scholarships, you should look out for;

1. Men’s D1 FBS Football

It generates the most money/revenue for schools, has more competitions, and therefore is one of the best sports for full scholarship chances. Men’s FBS Football is a head count sport, and just like any other head count sport, there is a specific number of scholarships that will be awarded and all of them must be full-ride scholarships.

However, it’s extremely hard to join the college football team, each school only has to accept 118 players, which is even higher when compared to other sports. Also, not all of these 118 players will receive scholarships, only 85 of them will, whereas other players are considered walk-ons and won’t receive any athletic funds.

Just 3% of high school student-athletes make it to D1, which mostly are top talents in football, leadership, and academics.

2. Women’s D1 Basketball

This is another headcount scholarship specially for women, which also means that the few ladies that are chosen to participate in the NCAA D1 team will surely get a full-ride scholarship. When we say few we really mean a very tiny subtract of women that participated in high school basketball.

That’s about 1.2% of 400,000 women’s basketball players that graduated from high school, which is just 4,800 distributed in different NCAA D1 schools, which is an average of 16 players per team. Also, even though each team can take up to 16 players they will only award 15 of them a full-ride scholarship, whereas the remaining one is regarded as a walk-on and won’t receive any athletic scholarship.

 3. Men’s D1 Basketball

Men’s D1 Basketball is one of the sports for full scholarship chances that accepts a fraction of high school student-athlete graduates. In fact, D1 Men’s Basketball only accepts less than 1%, that’s around 5,522 players.

Even though each of 353 teams can accept an average of 16 players, they are forced to only award 13 full-ride scholarships, if they have extra players known as walk-ons, they can work on the team, might not really see any actual playing time and won’t be eligible for any athletic aid.

4. NCAA D1 Women’s Volleyball

The good news is that there are thousands of scholarships awarded to women’s volleyball players in different division levels, but if you are looking for a full scholarship then you can only get it in D1 Women’s Volleyball. Just like all of the sports for full scholarship chances we have listed so far, this one also admits an average of 16 players per team.

But, only 12 players will be awarded the full-ride scholarships as there are only 12 available full scholarships. There are still other interesting sports that provide scholarships to women.

5. D1 Women’s Tennis

The D1 Women’s Tennis is another Head Count sport, and just like every other headcount sport, they only offer full-ride scholarships. Also, if you’re a U.S. Citizen, you should expect high competition coming from international athletes because collegiate tennis has the highest number of international athletes at the NCAA level.

Moreover, D1 Women’s Tennis has a lower average player per team when compared to other sports we have listed, they can only accept 9 players and provide full-ride scholarships to 8 of them.

6. D1 Women’s Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a very competitive sport to receive a full scholarship, and D1 Women’s Gymnastics is likewise a Head Count Sport. Again, D1 Women’s Gymnastics accepts more than the average team size we have listed so far, they accept 18 women student-athletes but award only 12 full-ride scholarships.


There are only 6 sports that offer full-ride scholarships, as they are headcount sports, and they generate the most money for schools, which makes it very easy for them to provide these scholarships. We believe we have answered your question on what sports get full scholarships, if you still have other questions feel free to ask in the comment session.

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