In part 2 of this 7 part series, we will discuss academic and athletic scholarship options and will begin to look at the best ways to package yourself as a basketball recruit.
In Part I of Chasing the Full Ride – A Definitive Guide to Your College Basketball Dream we discussed how few basketball recruits earn a full ride. However, a high percentage of prospects fulfill their dream to play at the next level by qualifying for academic scholarships, federal educational grants and loans as well as partial athletic scholarships. This process becomes The Numbers Game at all levels of college basketball recruiting.
Academic Scholarships For Basketball Players
“Do your homework!” is a common school night phrase in households worldwide for students growing up. Prospects would be wise to listen to this advice. In fact, “there is 22 times more academic aid available (each year) than athletic scholarships.” The more intelligent the recruits the easier the sell to a college coach. The recruit will qualify for more academic scholarship money which will cost the college coach less in his or her athletic scholarship budget. In addition, athletes that can get it done in the classroom provide less stress for the college coach monitoring a roster of 15-20. Numbers come into play for families which are looking for the best financial package. Academic scholarship requirements vary with each institution of higher learning but common requirements to earn an academic scholarship or merit scholarship typically require students to graduate in the top five to ten percent of their class. Students that bring more to the table then just their book smarts, will be more apt to earn an academic scholarship. According to scholarships.com, “… while all academic scholarships are merit scholarships, not all merit scholarships are academic scholarships.” The reality is that student-athletes have “ … an even better chance if you’re heavily involved in extracurricular activities.” Colleges and University admissions departments want well rounded students on their campus. They want students that will not only earn high grades but students that will bring something else to their campus community. They want musicians, actors, debaters, politicians, writers, and they want athletes! The more you can do, the more you will get! Well rounded students win in The Numbers Game.
FAFSA And Basketball Players
Additionally, prospects that do well in The Numbers Game often take advantage of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, which is a form that can be prepared annually for United States students looking for financial assistance for undergraduate and post-graduate studies within their country. The application awards aid of a given student based on Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is determined by household size, income, number of students from household in college and assets. The U.S. Department of Education begins accepting applications January 1 of each year and prospective students are encouraged to apply quickly to ensure that they will get as much aid as possible. FAFSA will open the door to nine federal student-aid programs, 605 state aid programs and most of the institutional aid available from a school of the student’s choice. From a basketball coach’s perspective at a non-NCAA-D1 school, a student who receives a substantial FAFSA aid package will not tax the athletic scholarship budget as much as a FAFSA non-qualifier. For example, as of the 2014-2015 Award year, a student who receives a Pell Grant maximum amount, will get $5,645 towards their education. The Pell is awarded to students with a low EFC. This can then be packaged with academic and athletic scholarships creating a great financial package for prospective students before even considering available loans. These Numbers become very appealing to college coaches and to the prospects.
Partial Athletic Scholarships For Basketball Players
As discussed in Part I, NCAA D1 schools are the only programs that offer exclusive full rides. However, there are very few available in a given recruiting year. Although NCAA D2 can offer full ride athletic scholarships, it is not the norm and very often, coaches will try to maximize their athletic scholarship money by recruiting prospects that are able to draw from other resources such as merit scholarships and/or a substantial FAFSA package. All NCAA D2 sports are considered “equivalency” sports, which means that the NCAA restricts the total financial aid that a school can offer in a given sport such as basketball to the equivalent of a set number of full scholarships. These programs have a total of 10 athletic scholarships available in men’s and women’s basketball while NCAA D3 programs do not offer athletic money. The problem is some institutions and in some cases entire conferences choose not to offer the full allotment granted by the NCAA. In addition, Coaches simply don’t have many scholarships available in a given year and will often look to offer partial scholarships to try to get as many players as possible. They may sometimes pitch a “pay two, earn two” situation to prospects in which they receive no athletic scholarship money their first two years but if they remain in the program, get an athletic scholarship their last two years. D2 coaches do try to land the big fish but most full rides at the D2 level are reserved for NCAA D1 transfers who can come in and make an immediate impact in the win column. In NAIA D1, basketball is sponsored by just over 100 men’s and women’s programs with each team offering a maximum of 11 athletic scholarships. In NAIA D2, there are nearly 150 men’s and women’s teams with each program equipped with the equivalent of six scholarships. NAIA coaches operate very similar to NCAA D2 coaches offering full rides to mainly NCAA D1 transfers while looking to fill their rosters utilizing partial scholarships, especially at the NAIA D2 level where they only have a maximum of six full scholarships. The best bet in The Numbers Game of College Basketball Recruiting is for prospects to seek out merit scholarships, apply for FAFSA January 1st while continuing to hone their skills in hopes of earning the best possible athletic scholarship, which most of the time is a partial deal.
The Full Package Basketball Player
In conclusion, The Number Game in College Basketball Recruiting is one in which the most attractive prospects have the full package of academics, financial need and value to a given roster. A basketball prospect who excels in the classroom and on the court and takes advantage of financial assistance through FAFSA will be ahead in The Numbers Game. Their scholastic achievement, athletic success and use of financial resources will make them an easy pick for coaches searching for the most bang for their buck in the ultra-competitive recruiting war. While FAFSA cannot be controlled, the first two areas can and should be addressed as soon as possible in a prospects’ dream to play college basketball. Additional intangibles which win out win all the above factors in The Numbers Game are equal become, character, ability to Lead as well as versatility on and off the court.
Notes on Basketball Scholarships – The Numbers Game
There are alternative to four-year institutions for basketball prospects and many players choose to spend one to two years at NJCAA (junior colleges – 15 full ride scholarships in D1, D2 offers tuition and books while athletes have to pay for room and board, D3 varies) and increasing popular, although potentially very expensive, Preparatory (“Prep”) programs ($40,000 on average – scholarships vary) International Student Options A major roadblock in the international recruiting game is the fact that these prospects don’t qualify for FAFSA. They must pull from their own possible federal funding (Canada has a program) or they are forced to finance their education by other means when they are not offered the coveted full ride.  8 Facts About College Athletics and Scholarships: What Every High School Athlete Needs to Know http://pathwaypr.com/8-facts-about-college-athletics-and-scholarships-what-every-high-school-athlete-needs-to-know  Academic Scholarships and Merit Scholarships https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-type/academic-scholarships-and-merit-scholarships/  FAFSA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FAFSA  FAFSA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FAFSA  Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_II_%28NCAA%29