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If you’re one of 1,043,872 high school athletes, it’s a huge win to score a college football scholarship as reported by Scholarship Stats. As the #1 scholarship sport at the college level, football offers more full ride scholarship money than any other college sport. Each year, 898 schools who sponsor U.S. college football teams in NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 schools provide more than $3.6 billion in athletic scholarships to over 180,000 student athletes according to the NCAA. Scholarship Stats reports over 93,000 college football players, only 184 could receive a scholarship to play football.
You typically must be recruited to receive a football scholarship from a college. There are also academic and athletic criteria that the student athlete must meet.
With respect to athletic ability, criteria vary as it is up to college coaches who they want on their roster. Football athletes should impress recruiters as well as the admissions counselor in order to receive a football scholarship.
Coaches may only reach out to you after your sophomore year in high school. However, they could watch video reels of your school football games and check out your online profile and sports stats. So, many players get ahead of the game once they join their high school or community college football team.
In addition, you also must meet two kinds of academic standards. The first is the unique acceptance metrics of the college you plan to attend. Second are rules for amateur athlete status in DI and DII schools set by the NCAA Eligibility Center. You need to be certified by the Center to be able to compete. Here are some of the main eligibility rules that a football student athlete must meet:
If you meet or go above NCAA Division 1 requirements, it means you are also eligible for D2. Division 3 schools hold college football players to the same standards set by the school they enroll in.
Check out these ten football scholarships and secure financial aid for college while you play for the sport you love.
If you want to pursue a football scholarship, each division has different rules, governing bodies, and member schools. The three athletic associations are NCAA, NAIA and NJCC. These organizations set the rules for how many sports scholarships schools could award in any given year. We’ve outlined some of their differences using data from Scholarship Stats.
NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) is the highest level of college football and is governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
D1 has 130 teams and 15,831 players. With larger budgets, these programs have 85 scholarships to hand out. All are full rides with an average amount of $24,058 in 2020. Every year a coach may provide up to 25 new scholarships. Academic scholarships and need based aid may also be available.
NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) comprises 126 schools and has a total of 13,603 players. There’s typically a limit of 63 scholarships and the average amount is $13,769. FCS is also known for partial scholarships and students who qualify may supplement with academic scholarships and need based aid as well.
NCAA Division 2 is competitive but football programs at this level have 36 scholarships per team. There are 166 teams and a total of 18,836 players. The average scholarship amount is $5,838. Not all of the scholarships at this level are full rides as coaches may divide the funds to get as many quality players as possible.
No Division 3 schools are allowed to offer sports scholarships for football. Players could still apply for other kinds of financial aid. There are 249 teams in this category and 25,442 players.
NAIA is the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. There are 96 teams and 9,950 players. NAIA football programs may offer up to 24 scholarships per team. The coach may divide these into partial scholarships to offer more players their funding.
NJCAA is the National Junior College Athletic Association. There are 60 NJCAA schools, all two year junior/community colleges and 4,834 players. There are 85 scholarships per team for a fully funded program but not all schools have the funds to offer scholarships.
Dream of playing in the Midwest? Briar Cliff University (Iowa) athletic scholarships are available for NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NAIA and NJCAA. All future and current Chargers could be recruited to receive one. These renewable awards (given you keep up a CGPA of 20) average $9,782 and in state tuition is $30,970 as reported by Scholarship Stats.
Do you have both a 3.2 GPA and outstanding football ability as a first team player? The NFF National Scholar Athlete Awards from Fidelity Investments is one to know about. There are about 12 to 14 recipients who receive these $18,000 postgraduate scholarships. The panel considers candidates from all levels of college football.
Athletic Associations cap the number of scholarships for DI and DII football schools. For DI schools, the max sports scholarships awarded depend on which division the school plays in FBS or FCS. DII schools have 36 scholarships divided among as many players as the program wishes.
Here’s the difference between D1 vs D2 football scholarships.
NCAA Division 1 football has two subdivisions. A football bowl subdivision (FBS) which has 120 member schools including Michigan and Ohio State. And a football championship subdivision (FCS) which comprises 125 schools including Ivy Leagues, Georgia Southern and Northern Iowa.
NCAA D1 – FBS is a headcount sport which means it generates revenue for the college. FBS schools could provide 85 scholarships on its roster and may sign up to 25 players per year. All 85 scholarships in FBS football are full rides.
NCAA D1 – FCS and NCAA D2 football are equivalency sports. That means FCS schools could divvy up the funds into partial scholarships. It may be that one player gets a full ride, and another student receives one to cover tuition only. They usually have a 63 scholarship limit and up to 30 incoming players each year may receive aid.
A fully funded or full ride scholarship for football may be available to student athletes who show outstanding ability, promise, and have the required grades to match. As a rule, these scholarships are available at NCAA Division 1 FBS schools. They tend to be for one year with some being renewable for two to four years, depending on the terms.
When searching for football scholarships for high school seniors, you could check with the Athletic Department of the school you want to attend.
University of Notre Dame is one example. The university offers fully funded scholarships for football in average amounts of $34,327 according to Scholarship Stats. It may cover tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.
When you go through the recruiting process, you may receive an offer. It’s important to know how each offer differs and what the scholarship for football.
A verbal offer from a coach is not a legal or binding contract. It’s when the college bound student athlete verbally agrees to play for a college before he or she signs or is eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent. This makes anything verbal a non committable offer.
An “official” offer is like a verbal offer until you sign the National Letter of Intent, or NLI. When a student athlete officially commits to attend a Division 1 or 2 college, he or she signs a National Letter of Intent in which they agree to attend that school for one academic year. The NLI is a legal and binding contract between an athlete and the D1 or D2 school. It is both an official and committable offer. Once you sign an NLI, all other institutions must stop contacting you and your family members.
Some coaches make verbal offers to many athletes at once. They do this expecting that some recruits will accept other offers and they want to cover their bases. If you receive this kind of offer you could ask the coach where you stand on the recruit list. If there are a few other players ahead of you, you may not receive a scholarship or, may receive less than expected.
A preferred walk on offer means that the coach would like you to play football on the team but cannot offer you any financial assistance at least for the first year. There is a possibility of a scholarship for the second year, but no guarantee.
Yes, it is possible to lose your football scholarship. When you receive a scholarship offer in writing, it should spell out the terms and conditions. Breaking the contract in some way could make the coach take your scholarship away. Here are a few possible scenarios:
Check out our list of 243 scholarships for football players worth $648K.
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
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