Full-Ride Realities


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You may be the best athlete in any program at your high school but this does not guarantee that you will receive a “full-ride” to participate in college athletics. In reality, very few athletes receive 100% of their tuition, room, board, books and fee’s paid for by having superior athletic ability.

There are a few NCAA1 sports that offer “head count” scholarships. A Head Count sport (Football, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Women’s Tennis, Women’s Volleyball and Women’s Gymnastics) offers only a full athletic scholarship or no athletic scholarship money. Coaches’ of head count sports cannot divide their scholarship monies as they determine for the best interest of their program. Coaches of Equivalency sports (all sports not listed under “head count” in NCAA1 and all NCAA2 sports) can divide their scholarship money. These sports are given a limited scholarship budget by the NCAA and the coach can divide these scholarships between as many, or as few, student-athletes as they deem necessary.

The student-athletes from Equivalency sports that report a “full-ride” maybe telling the truth but it is likely that their 100% scholarship is an accumulation of scholarships, grants and even loans from various sources. With Equivalency sports you can add to a partial athletic scholarship from other means such as academic scholarships, leadership scholarships, academic departmental scholarships or outside scholarships approved by your athletic department. This is one reason that your academics are important – they may afford you the opportunity to qualify for academic, or other, scholarships to add to any athletic monies you are awarded.

Additionally, caution should be made assuming each college program has the full allotment of athletic scholarships. This is not the case. The NCAA and the NAIA determine maximum scholarship amounts but each college and university makes the final decision on the total amount each program awards. This is sometimes determined by the conference in which the institution participates.   

In conclusion, a full-ride is a possibility but is likely to be made up of scholarship monies from different areas if you compete in an Equivalency sport. A strong academic portfolio may create additional scholarship opportunities for you so it is important that you are making good grades and you know how to find additional scholarship opportunities. For more information, visit www.primescout.com

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