Over one thousand American schools offer sports scholarships to talented students in exchange for the student’s participation in the school team. There are several sports scholarships for high school students, and many students who love sports hope to get one to help them pay for their tuition and build a career in sports.
Athletics scholarships can seriously offset college costs at any institution, and scholarships for college are at the forefront of the mind of almost every high school student. In this article, we will discuss how to get a sports scholarship in 2022 and share tips to improve your chances of becoming a college athlete.
What Is a Sports Scholarship?
A sports scholarship is financial aid, like a grant, awarded to students who have exceptional athletic ability and potential to succeed in sports. It helps offset the cost of attendance in college so your college tuition is more affordable. It can help you to improve your athletic resume at the college level while you pursue a degree at the same time.
It is available in a wide range of sports such as soccer, archery, swimming, and hockey. If you’re a great tennis player, you can get a tennis scholarship. Football scholarships are also popular and players have a chance to play in the National Football League. The National Collegiate Athletic Association reports that Division I and Division II schools in the U.S. provide more than $3.6 billion to fund the schooling costs of over 180,000 student-athletes.
The two major types of sports scholarships are a full-ride scholarship and a partial scholarship. Full-ride scholarships cover the total cost of the college education such as tuition fees, books, room and board, supplies, and even living expenses. Partial scholarships, on the other hand, only cover a portion of the tuition.
Common Sports Scholarship Requirements
- Athletic performance. Before anything else, you need to have exceptional athletic abilities to explore scholarship opportunities in your chosen sports. Prospective students will be reviewed based on their sporting achievements and talents.
- Academic performance. While most colleges place more emphasis on your athletic abilities, students must prove that they can cope with the academic rigors of a college education. The academic requirement differs for each school but, generally, students must have an above-average GPA to qualify for a scholarship. For an NCAA Division I school, prospective athletes must have a minimum 2.3 GPA.
- Age requirement. Prospective college athletes also have to satisfy the age requirement. Students must be between 16 and 25 years of age to qualify for a sports scholarship for most schools in the US.
- Letters of recommendation. Some universities have a scholarship rule that students must submit letters of recommendation from past coaches and trainers.
- Standardized examinations. Students may have to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT). The admissions committee reviews exam results to measure aptitude and critical thinking ability. Also, international students may have to take Test of Foreign Language (TOEFL) exams.
How to Find Sports Scholarships
College athletic scholarships are very competitive. The National Collegiate Athletic Association reports that only about two percent of high school athletes get athletic scholarships to compete at a collegiate level. With these kinds of odds, it may be tough to stand out in the college recruiting process and successfully land a sports scholarship.
However, you can improve your chances by creating a solid recruiting game plan. Below are some tips to help you find a sports scholarship.
Create a List of Target Schools
Create a list of schools and research the requirements of scholarships for student-athletes such as academic performance, athletic talents, and school preferences. Make a list of degree programs you’re interested in and keep that in mind when creating your list of target schools. An injury could affect your athletic career, so make sure you have a degree you can fall back on that can contribute to success in your career after college.
Division I athletics are not for everyone and even the most talented athletes may not successfully land a scholarship. A great way to improve your chances is to find out what division level is best for you and choose schools in that division. We recommend that you get evaluated by a third party or compete against athletes from other schools to understand how you compare against other students. Duke University is an example of an academically competitive school with good sports program.
Know the Academic Requirements to Be Eligible
After selecting the best schools, the next step is to gather sports scholarship information. You still have to have good grades to get athletic-related awards. Research the academic requirements, and find out what you need for a successful recruiting process.
Attend Summer Camps and Showcases
There are camps and showcases that can expose you to sports scholarship opportunities. You can gain a direct connection to college head coaches who make unofficial visits to scout talented students.
Tips to Find Sports Scholarships for High School Students
Know the NCAA and NAIA rules and regulations
Prospective student-athletes should learn the NCAA and NAIA rules for college-bound student-athletes interested in athletic programs. Students must satisfy specific requirements to be eligible for US sports scholarships. We recommend that you visit the NCAA Eligibility Center and the NAIA Eligibility Center to check if you are on the right track to compete on a college athletic team.
Make Contact with Coaches
Your athletic abilities will not matter if coaches are not aware of you. It is incredibly important to ensure that you are on the radar of college coaches. You have to network and get the attention of college coaches. You can start by emailing coaches to indicate your interest in their program. You should attach a link to your highlight video and other important information that can pique the coach’s interest.
Don’t Slack off Academically
Contrary to general opinion, a sports scholarship is not solely based on athletic ability. It works as an academic scholarship so students need to satisfy the minimum academic requirement before they can qualify for a sports scholarship. A decent academic performance improves your chances of getting accepted into a good college.
Compare your academic performance to the academic requirements of the school you are aiming for. This will give you valuable insight into your chances to qualify for a spot on any college sports team. Work hard and be sure that your GPA is of a competitive standard and aim for any academic awards that are available. The number of scholarship awards per school will vary, although more popular, wealthy schools could offer more.
10 Best Sports Scholarships in 2022: Overview
|Scholarship Name||Who Is Eligible||Amount Covered|
|AO Duer Scholarship Award||Outstanding student-athletes in a university||$1,000|
|Association for Women in Sports Media Internship Program||Full-time female college students pursuing a university degree in sports media||$1,000|
|Bat and Ball Game Women’s Sports Scholarship||Female undergraduate degree students currently pursuing a sports-related degree||$1,000|
|Chuck Pezzano Scholarship||High school, vocational school, or college student who wants to pursue a career in sports writing||$5,000|
|Foot Locker School Athletes Program||High school students about to enter a university||$20,000|
|Future of Sports Scholarship Program||High school, undergraduate, or graduate student in a United States school||$1,000|
|Micheal Moody Fitness Scholarship||High school or college students interested in a career in health and fitness fields||$1,500|
|Ruth Abernathy Presidential Scholarship||Outstanding undergraduate or graduate student members of SHAPE America||$1,250 for undergraduate students
$1,750 for graduate students
|The Ron Labinski SMA Foundation Sports Scholarships||Full-time undergraduate or graduate students pursuing a degree in facility management or related fields.||Varies depending on donations|
|Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarships||HIgh school junior of the Class of 2023||$1,000|
Top 10 Sports Scholarships: In Detail
1. AO Duer Scholarship Award
- Awarded by: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
- Deadline: June 30, 2022
The AO Duer Scholarship Award is an annual scholarship awarded to a promising junior student-athlete who has demonstrated exceptional sports ability, character, and academic performance. It awards $1,000 in athletic scholarship money to winners to be used for the costs of tuition and other educational expenses.
2. Association for Women in Sports Media Internship Program
- Awarded by: Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM)
- Deadline: October 31, 2022
This scholarship started up in 1990 and has awarded over 200 female college students with $1,000 awards. The scholarship package also includes a paid summer-term internship, an all-expense-paid trip to the ASWM annual conference, and a free one-year membership at the organization. It is open to all female college students pursuing a career in sports media with a focus on media arts and sports writing.
3. Bat and Ball Game Women’s Sports Scholarship
- Awarded by: Bat and Ball Game
- Deadline: May 30, 2022
The Bat and Ball Game Women’s Sports Scholarship is an annual scholarship that aims to empower women through sports. It involves a cash award of $1,000 to a female undergraduate degree student in a sports-related degree like physiotherapy, sports management, sports nutrition, sports medicine, and sports rehabilitation. Any prospective student-athlete is required to write an essay on her female role models in sports and general topics in female sports.
4.Chuck Pezzano Scholarship
- Awarded by: International Bowling Media Association
- Deadline: May 15, 2022
The Chuck Pezzao scholarship awards $5,000 to a student interested in writing about bowling. The scholarship requirement involves an essay, letter of recommendation, and minimum GPA of 3.0. Interested applicants must be under 25 years of age.
5. Foot Locker School Athletes Program
- Awarded by: Foot Locker
- Deadline: September 23, 2022
The Foot Locker School Athlete program awards $20,000 to 20 students who demonstrate academic ability and exceptional leadership skills in sports. Interested candidates must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, be actively involved in high school sports, and must be entering the college for a four-year degree by the Fall of 2022.
6. Future of Sports Scholarship Program
- Awarded by: Lineups.com
- Deadline: June 30, 2022
The Future of Sports Scholarship program awards $1,000 to five students who have exemplary sports and academic achievements. Interested students must be currently enrolled in a high school or college in the United States. You can apply directly on the website.
7. Micheal Moody Fitness Scholarship
- Awarded by: Michael Moody Fitness
- Deadline: August 1, 2022
This is a college scholarship for athletes in high school and college who have excelled in athletics and have shown an interest in pursuing a career in the health and fitness industry. It involves a cash award of $1,500 which the student can use to pay for schooling expenses.
8. Ruth Abernathy Presidential Scholarship
- Awarded by: Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE)
- Deadline: October 15, 2022
This scholarship was created in honor of Ruth Abernathy, a former president of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. It awards $1,250 to undergraduate students and $1,750 to graduate students. Winners also benefit from a free three-year SHAPE America membership.
9. The Ron Labinski SMA Foundation Sports Scholarship
- Awarded by: Stadium Manager Association
- Deadline: April 16, 2022
The Ron Labinski SMA Foundation scholarship was created to honor the contributions of Ron Labinski to stadium design. It is awarded to exceptional undergraduate or graduate students majoring in degrees that will equip them for a career in facility management, event management, or a related field. Eligible students must be actively involved in community service and have stadium-related work experience.
10. Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarships
- Awarded by: Positive Coach Alliance
- Deadline: April 30, 2022
The Positive Coach Alliance offers over 100 scholarships of $1,000 to high school students. Interested student-athletes are required to write an essay on how they can improve their game based on the three criteria of personal mastery, leadership, and honoring the game. They must also have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and be actively involved in high school sports.
Should I Apply for a Sports Scholarship?
You should apply for a sports scholarship. A college sports scholarship can provide much-needed money for college, allowing recipients to focus on their college career. Participating in sports activities in colleges all around the country provides a gateway for talented student-athletes who do not have the financial capability to fund their college education. Aside from that, students also benefit from world-class coaches and state-of-the-art athletic facilities.
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Sports Scholarships FAQ
It is easier to get scholarship assistance in Lacrosse than other sports at American universities. Lacrosse is only popular in the United States. As a result, it has no competition from international students. This gives it a higher acceptance rate than other sports. It is also easy to get scholarships in baseball and hockey.
Head-count sports offer full scholarships. Notable examples of head-count sports are FBS football, basketball, women’s gymnastics, and women’s volleyball. A public university that wants you to be part of their college team will be more than happy to provide college funding as an incentive to attend that school.
Football provides more scholarships to athletes than other sports in Division I men’s sports, followed by basketball, lacrosse, hockey, track and field, and baseball. For the Division I women’s sport, rowing scholarships are more available, followed by ice hockey, basketball, and track and field.
Yes, they do. D1 Athletes receive all gear and accessories related to the sport they play. This includes socks, polos, compression pants, joggers, and sweatshirts. Some Division I football teams are sponsored by big-name companies like Nike and get new uniforms for every game.
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