Waiting for the big time Division I college baseball scholarship? You may be waiting for a while

January 17, 2020

Thousands of parents and young athletes all around the country a spending countless hours and money to achieve a major goal: getting a baseball scholarship to pay for college.  What many of these parents and athletes do not realize is that the idea of a “full ride” to their dream school to play baseball does not actually exist.   

According to athleticscholarships.net:

                  “There are approximately 299 NCAA Division I baseball programs with each team being allowed to offer a maximum of (11.7) scholarships. Under NCAA rules, these 11.7 scholarships can be divided between a maximum of 27 players, with all players on athletic scholarship having to receive a minimum of a 25% scholarship.”

What does that mean for the athlete trying go to college to play baseball?  As a former high school baseball coach, I used to have a sign that hung in my office that had the numbers “11.7 and 35”.  Those numbers stood for the 11.7 scholarships that a school(if they fully funded the program) could offer to 27 players on their roster.  The 35 stood for the maximum number of players that could be kept on the roster.  That also means that there will be at least 8 players on the roster that will have no athletic scholarship at all.  These players are considered “walk-ons” and are expected to pay their OCA or find other aid to negate some of the cost. 

The harsh reality is that most college baseball players and their families will have to come up with on average 65-75 percent of the cost to go to college.  So how can parents and student-athletes soften this burden?  Through proactive research and planning, families can become aware of what costs may be incurred and how to plan accordingly.

  1. Research
    1. Find schools that have the major that you would want to get a degree in(Don’t pick a school that doesn’t have an education department if you want to become a teacher)
    2. Look at team rosters and see how many players are in each class. This may give you a rough idea of how much money ma be available.
    3. Look for other scholarship opportunities within the university. There may be scholarships you qualify for outside of athletic scholarships.
    4. Look for scholarships within your community that you may qualify for. Every dollar makes a difference!
    5. Consider Junior College. Junior Colleges can offer up to 24 scholarships and it will allow you to not only play baseball, it will also allow you to get two years of college possibly paid for 100 percent.
  2. Planning
    1. Begin making a college plan even before you identify that playing college athletics is even an option.
    2. Meet with a trusted advisor to see where you and your family stand in the college planning process.
    3. Meet with your college counselor at your current school to see what you need to do in regards of eligibility and paperwork.

These are just a few examples of the preparation that goes into sending a student-athlete to college to play baseball.  There are also different rules when you begin to look at Division II, III, and NAIA.  The best advice is to start early, do your research, and ask for help. Whenever you have any questions, it is best to reach out to your trusted advisor and get those answers.