The Rundown on College Athletic Scholarships
Five Things Any Athletic Scholarship Applicant Ought to Know
Once identified as a promising prospect in high school, athletes are placed on a path to recruitment by interested colleges. It generally starts in a student’s freshman or sophomore year, after he or she has differentiated themselves from other athletes or earned a prestigious award, such as being named All-State. “It’s a complicated process,” remarks Ryan Tevepaugh, a real estate entrepreneur and former baseball scholarship holder at Trinity Christian College. “Once you’re in the pipeline, it can be tricky to navigate. There are a bunch of things I wish I knew back in my late teens and early twenties.” So, in the interest of arming potential recruits with as much knowledge as possible, here are answers to five important questions anyone applying for an athletic scholarship ought to know, courtesy of Ryan Tevepaugh.
Who Gives Out Athletic Scholarships?
“That’s a deceptively complex question,” replies Tevepaugh. “Scholarships are given out by athletic associations, the most well-known of which is the National College Athletic Association, or the NCAA for short. Within that organization, there are three divisions, each of which encompasses a certain number of colleges. Of these divisions, only two are allowed to offer athletic scholarships — so, that’s about six hundred and thirty schools, and about a hundred thousand total scholarships. But there’s more,” Tevepaugh takes a breath before elaborating. “Besides the NCAA, there are two other major organizations that hand out scholarships. There’s the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics, or NAIA, and the National Junior College Athletic Asssociation, or NJCAA. Combined, they cover about seven hundred and twenty colleges, and about sixty-five thousand athletic scholarships. On top of that, there are some smaller, private organizations that recruit students and bestow financial aid.”
Who is Eligible for an Athletic Scholarship?
“This question, at least, has a pretty straightforward answer,” Tevepaugh declares. “Any high school student, so long as they meet the minimum academic standards and are considered an amateur athlete is eligible for an athletic scholarship.”
How Difficult is it to Receive a ‘Full-Ride’ Scholarship?
Although usually the goal of every applicant, a ‘full-ride’ scholarship is something of a rarity. Covering tuition, fees, lodging, books, meals, and sometimes living expenses, it is easy to understand why so many applicants pin their dreams on landing a full ride. “No, it’s incredibly difficult. It’s incredibly competitive,” says Tevepaugh. “In fact, only one percent of all college athletes are awarded full-ride scholarships. There are ways to increase the likelihood of it happening, of course… being a specialist player in certain sports. A quarterback in football, for example. Or a pitcher in baseball. But these scholarships are reserved for the absolute cream of the crop.”
Is a Scholarship a Requirement to Compete in College Sports?
“Not at all,” Tevepaugh shakes his head. “Actually, students who merit athletic scholarships are more the exception than the rule on most college teams.” He goes on to explain that scholarships are mainly reserved for the elite few prospects deemed ‘the best of the best’, and that otherwise most college teams hold tryouts open to anyone enrolled in the school.
Can a Scholarship be Taken Away?
“Oh, sure,” the real estate entrepreneur responds. “Usually scholarships are revoked due to poor academic performance. That is one of the many reasons why it’s important to study hard, even if you are a favoured athletic prospect.” When asked if there are any other reasons a student could lose their financial backing, Tevepaugh pauses to think. “Aside from violating school policies, or being found guilty of a pretty bad crime, if an athlete performs well, usually a college will make an effort to retain them. On the other hand, if an athlete underperforms, the school is under no obligation to renew the scholarship. It’s important to understand that, typically, athletic scholarships are determined on a year-to-year basis and are always subject to review.”
Ryan Tevepaugh is a real estate entrepreneur and a graduate of Trinity Christian College, which he attended on a baseball scholarship. He currently resides in Cleveland where he manages an extensive property portfolio.