Betting on a sports scholarship to pay for kids' college? Don't

@Ohiodad51 I agree that number seems weird but it’s what “admisssions expert” @Dave_Berry posted. IF true it’s better statistical odds than applying to a T30 school that people chase a lot on CC. However, yes personally playing a sport and expecting a scholarship is insane. And fencing has >80% high school fencers, fence in college (I think that’s the highest rate)

And yes - I used revenue sport incorrectly - I meant sports that have lots of revenue for pros. Baseball has a lot of money for the pros (like 300$ million dollars for 10 year contracts). And yes, if you can hit 90 mph as a pitcher professional scouts will come to regular high school baseball games anywhere in the US. kids now just use twitter to advertise their pitching speeds. “bumping” 90 more than once in a game is very, very rare. If any of you have a kid in your school district that throws 90MPH + multiple times a game check out an inning; the amount of resources major league baseball spends on scouting is amazing. Baseball players can go pro after high school something that no other US sport really does currently. It’s quite a difference watching olympic sports where often parents are the only ones in the stands. Seeing 8 grown men diligently charting every pitch some 16/17 year old throws and travels the country looking for those kids often at high schools is something to ponder.

but yes you better have a natural gift (like being a 6’6’’ female volleyball player or 6’10’’ basketball male player to expect a scholarship.

And yet my 5’2" kid got a scholarship.

@BKSquared, absolutely correct. DS got way more in FinAid than he would have anywhere else for athletics. Luckily, CC clued me in on this when he was still in high school. THANKS CC! You would think the kid might keep this to himself considering it kind of broadcasts the family financial situation, but he told me the other day that no one can believe how little we pay. :blush:

S22 is currently a strong player in an interesting environment. He is the second youngest player on his club team. Three of his teammates have already committed to D1 programs as juniors. Every class of 2019 player on the team the next age group above is committed to a college program, from top 15 D1s to more local D1s as well as Ivies, NESCACs and top D3s.

At no point have I ever expected he’ll earn a scholarship. Am I hopeful that he’ll earn a roster spot at a school he’d love to attend? Of course, but I don’t expect that to happen either.

The next 24-36 months will be interesting for him. Next year, as a sophomore, he will continue to watch current teammates commit in their junior year as well as former teammates that moved up a year that are seniors. As you might expect, none of the parents are forthcoming about scholarships in general. They certainly don’t discuss any financial information.

I’ve never really asked him if he thinks he’ll earn a scholarship. I’m certain he expects to play in college though. I’ll ask him his thoughts on the way home from practice tonight.

I’m just along for the ride when you get right down to it. I simply hope he stays healthy and continues to work as hard in school as he does on the field.

Men’s soccer only has 9.9 scholarships compared to women’s 14. also there are hundreds of more D1 girls soccer teams than men’s. Men’s soccer for D1 is brutally competitive. Some top programs also take internationals much more so in men’s game (although FSU women (and more recently UNC) does it in women’s).

What the maximum roster size for Men’s D1 soccer? I think it’s 29, but I might be wrong. So that’s 9.9 for 29 spots.

For baseball there is a max of 11.7 scholarships for 35 man roster. Of the 35, only 27 can receive athletic money, and the minimum they must receive is 25% of a scholarship. That means by rule at least 8 guys are getting no athletic money, usually more. And that’s for schools that fully fund their baseball scholarships, most don’t.

yes @nhparent9 for D1 men’s there are a total of 9.9 scholarships that can be divided for EVERYONE. It’s a title 9 thing where football gets 85 scholarships (which are all used at places like alabama) so to balance out the number in many non-revenue sports the mens teams are both fewer in number and fewer in scholarships. I don’t think there’s actual caps on soccer roster sizes, however there are caps on travel rosters which I think is 22 and can be set by conference. (i believe not 100% sure). UNC women typically have 30 kids on their women’s team for soccer and “making the travel roster” is the first goal for those kids.

I consulted the 2018 Men’s D1 Soccer rankings and chose UVA @ #10 to drill down on. It’s a great combination of strong academics and big time ACC athletics.

Their team photo has 29 players in it. The 2018 stats sheets shows that 21 of those 29 saw the field.

So, for whatever reason, 8 players juggled D1 athletics, as well as their studies, but never played an actual game minute.

Of the 21 that played there were 3 that essentially played every minute of every game. It’s safe to say that these are scholarship athletes. Did they receive a full ride?

There were another 5 players that started and played in every game, or almost every game, and were on the field for between 88% - 98% of the total game minutes. What percentage might their scholarships be?

The next 4 players, in terms of minutes played, were on the field between 51% - 77% of the total season minutes, BUT…they scored 64% of the team’s goals(5,2,2,5). Scholarships? How much?

The final 9 players started a total of 6 games and played a total of 1,322 combined minutes of the 1600 minute season. Is there any chance 1 or 2 of these kids received a scholarship?

@anon145 The stats about % of high school athletes continuing on in college can be very misleading for some sports.

Fencing is a great example (as is women’s hockey and crew). There are relatively few high schools that have fencing (or women’s hockey!) as an official varsity sport, so there are relatively few “high school athletes.” This throws the “% of high school athletes continuing in college” stat way off compared to the number of collegiate athletes on teams in the sport. For example, the vast majority of HS-aged participants in fencing complete out of private clubs, because there is no varsity team at their high school. Most of the collegiate athletes in these predominantly club-based sports (unlike football, basketball, volleyball, etc), never competed on a high school team for their sport, so they aren’t included in the fraction.

I only have experience with D1 college swim recruiting, with daughter receiving a small athletic scholarship and large merit scholarship, the drawback to some athletes for the non headcount sports is that if they pick a school they can’t afford without the partial athletic scholarship, they have to transfer if for whatever reason are no longer able to or want to compete. She swam for 2 years and made decision to stop in order to free up time for academic pursuits, she was able to stay at the school she loved because of the merit scholarship and would have been devastated to have to leave school because she no longer wanted the life of a D1 athlete. Fast forward to my son who is also a swimmer wanting to swim in college and the realities of underfunded mens college athletics for the non revenue sports, especially at schools without a profitable athletic department, which is reality is most schools. I don’t think most parents are even away how many men’s teams are not fully funded for the non-revenue, non head count mens sports.

you are correct @stencils but fencing still is tops continuing in college for boys and girls. but yeah in total it drops to 38% compared to say 8-9% for soccer

Yes, there are a limited number of scholarships per team, but if you meet the requirements of the NCAA, you can combine merit with athletic money, and other grants from the school, and federal need based aid.

Very few students receive a full ride just from athletic funds, but you can ‘build your own’ by combining merit, athletic and federal aid. You can also stack outside scholarships as long as they weren’t given for athletic ability (or you can stack those if the coach has room on the team budget). I think a big mistake is looking for one source to pay for the entire bill.

My daughter had a nice merit scholarship and a nice athletic grant. She needed them both. All the parents hoping for athletic scholarships might have to compromise a little with the ranking of the team or the ranking of the academics, but those just looking for merit aid have to do that too.

at least the top NESCACs won’t let you keep outside scholarships if you get FA from the school. They say (or at least the one I know) says scholarships reduce financial aid from the school 1:1.

“at least the top NESCACs won’t let you keep outside scholarships if you get FA from the school. They say (or at least the one I know) says scholarships reduce financial aid from the school 1:1.”

I believe that is true at many or most schools and is certainly true at all the Ivies or at least the top Ivies (I know from 1st hand experience). Essentially the school’s calculated expected family contribution $ remains the same and the schools FA/need based scholarship is reduced 1:1 with outside scholarships.

NESCACs are division 3. They don’t have athletic scholarships so of course you can’t stack ‘with an athletic scholarship.’ Many of the NESCACs have only need based aid, so if you have a merit scholarship, your need is reduced.

For D1 and D2 athletic scholarships, need is not a factor (unless the coach makes it one).

A lot of this is going to vary by school, conference and the type of aid. For both my kids, one a non scholarship athlete at Princeton, the other decidedly not an athlete at Vassar, outside scholarships were used to first reduce the student expected contribution, then loans if applicable, then any grant. My alma mater, a D1 scholarship school, counts all aid provided to a rostered player in my old sport as athletic aid by conference rule. While that is a pretty extreme example, the rules seem to vary a bit. But as @twoinanddone says, it doesn’t really matter how the aid is “tagged”, what is important is building towards a number you can stomach.

@leennp what year is your swimmer son? My S23 has mentioned maybe possibly wanting to swim in college so I’m poking around on these threads and checking out for stats just to see if he even has a prayer. What I’m finding is there isn’t much money for set aside for men swimmers (unless you are breaking national records! he is not!), but there can be scholarship if the academics are also high… like using swimming as a hook to get into academically selective schools. I would love to know your viewpoint/experience since you have done this, albeit with a Daughter.

My son just finished sophomore year, so rising Junior. And yes you may be able to use swimming as a hook for selective schools, but only if you are in the range where your times would be able to score points at conference championships and likely in more that one event, so top 16 in conference. College swimmers only swim 3 events at conference, and some schools have a travel/conference team as a subset fo the the roster of all swimmers on team. For conferences that limit number of athletes at conference, this is common, or also common to have a smaller roster of swimmers at schools with conference limits, with no "recruited walk-on’s. Athletes are eligible to receive merit scholarships that all students are evaluated for, however many “top” schools only have need based aid and not merit, and the Ivy league has no athletic or merit scholarships for anyone. The NCAA has some general rule on athlete receiving merit, they must meet a minimum threshold for Act or combined scores in order to receive merit. College swimming dot com has a very useful tool if you have the paid membership, which is only like 60 or something one time fee, you can look and any school and evaluate where you “fit” in the school and conference. My daughter was only fast enough really to look at mid major D1, or D2, Dc3 schools. You may think in looking at that but wait, my kid is in high school, not in college, the college kids should be faster, but coaches know that as well, they are still looking to see if you are at least close to scoring, knowing that the huge time drops younger swimmers see don’t really happen anymore as you approach college age, especially for girls, many of whom peek at end of high school and never get faster in college. Boys tend to still have improvements college due to putting on muscle, but nothing like they saw in the 12-16 year old range. So you can’t look at you high school sophomore time of say a 200 free time that is 15 seconds slower than the kids in a C final at conference and think no problem, will be at that time in 2 years. That is not reality. You need to have a somewhat close time by end of short course season junior year or maybe fall of senior year if high school swimming is a fall sport in your state. You can feel free to message me more if you like, I may have more experience with girls and college swimming, but have friends with boys who are college swimmers who went through the process the same time as my daughter and we are in the process already for my son.

I’ll chime in and say my D3 kid got no FA (which was expected) but also no merit (which was expected). Because she was a recruited athlete I think the school knew she would go if accepted ED1 and there was no need on their part to sweeten the pot. My D ended up at a very rigorous D3 LAC with no aid as a recruited athlete. We chased merit with my S and he got a full tuition scholarship. I think D3 athletes can end up with less at the top academic schools.At least based on my experience.

A lot of athletes use the hook to get into the schools they want to, not for the money. That’s the case with the Ivies as the money is the same for anyone admitted to the schools (need based aid) but the hard part is getting in.