Scholarships by Sport: Baseball and Basketball

Scholarships by Sport: Baseball and BasketballMany fathers dream of their sons playing college sports. They want to be in the stands rooting on their sons to victory in the great atmosphere of a college game. Unfortunately, this is a dream that doesn’t come true for very many fathers. The world of college spots is very competitive. It is very tough to make a college sports team. Even those who are good enough to make the team do not often get a full scholarship. Football sucks up the vast majority of college athletic scholarships because it is the sport that lines the pockets of universities’ sports programs. Here is a look at the tougher world of scholarships for baseball and basketball players.


Of the two sports, basketball is the better bet for athletes to get full-ride scholarships. NCAA Division I programs are allowed to give out 13 scholarships at any one time. These scholarships are almost always given out as full scholarships, and an average basketball team only plays seven or eight players during a game. This means that even most of the benchwarmers on a Division I basketball team will have all of their college costs paid for.

Division II basketball teams are allowed to give out 10 scholarships at any one time, so even players that aren’t good enough for Division I basketball have a good shot at getting their college educations paid for. These smaller Division II schools often have phenomenal academic programs, since they have a much better student-teacher ratio.

Division III and below colleges do not give out athletic scholarships. This does not mean that good players cannot get their college educations paid for by playing at these smaller schools. These Division III and below schools offer grants instead of scholarships, and players that have good basketball skills and academic skills can sometimes get their entire educations funded this way.


The news is not nearly as bright for college baseball players. They almost never are awarded full-ride athletic scholarships. This is because Division I baseball programs are only allowed to give out 11.7 scholarships at a time. When you figure that the average baseball team needs around 25 players to fill out the squad, you can see why 11.7 scholarships is nowhere near enough to go around.

This means that college baseball coaches need to split up their scholarships. Most college baseball players will be on a half-scholarship. They may have their tuitions paid for, but then they need to cover their room and board. Other coaches split everything down the middle, making it necessary for players and their families to come up with half the tuition and half of the room and board.

The news gets even worse for baseball players. Since baseball is not a lucrative sport for most universities, fewer than half of the Division I baseball programs actually fund their full 11.7 scholarships. This is because baseball programs do not make enough money to fund their own scholarships, so the athletic department has to take money from the football and basketball programs to fund them.

Division II programs are allowed even fewer baseball scholarships. They are only allowed to give out nine scholarships at a time. Division III and below programs are not allowed to give out any baseball scholarships, but they do provide grants for players that can excel both athletically and academically.

Getting Your Son’s College Education Paid For

As you can see, the basketball route is the much easier path for players to get an athletic scholarship. Players that are good at both sports may want to focus on basketball if playing for college is their priority.

The best thing a father can do is to make sure that his son does well in the classroom as well as the playing field. Players that excel in both areas will have many more opportunities to get their education paid for than players who just focus on athletics.