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Scholarships! The Elephant in the Room

By Gordon Henderson
Ohio South Director of Coaching
 
Updated January 2014
 

 

What Does NCAA and NAIA mean?

These are the two main organizations that institutions are members of;

NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association

NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

 

What is the Difference Between NCAA and NAIA?

Not a whole lot really. NCAA institutions tend to have stricter rules on the age of an athlete, amateur status, recruitment and playing rules. The big money and TV exposure tend to be at NCAA Division 1 institutions. In addition, attendance at NCAA institutions tends to vary in size from the very large (over 50,000) to the small (under 5,000). Attendance at NAIA institutions tend to be exclusively smaller (under 5,000). The key is that both organizations offer both Athletic and Academic aid. If you are looking at ways to help pay for college, you may want to consider both entities as a part of your decision on where to attend.

 

What is the Difference Between NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3?

First of all......it is NOT the quality of the soccer programs or institution. There are many Division 1 soccer programs that are very good....and some that are not as competitive. There are many Division 2 and 3 soccer programs that would be highly successful against Division 1 opponents and many that would not. Like any league that you currently play in – there is a wide range. The institution selects which division to play in according to set criteria summarized below. The decision of which division to play in usually comes down to available funding, available conference to play in and academic philosophical track;

NCAA Division 1                                                               

  • Must offer at least 14 sports
  • Must offer a minimum amount of athletic aid (some exceptions).......academic aid also available
  • Must have participating male and female athletes in each of the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons
  • Must play a minimum number of contests against Division 1 opponents
  • Okay to play a national schedule
  • Institutions tend to have large to medium size enrollment

 

NCAA Division 2

  • Must offer at least 10 sports
  • Do not need to offer a minimum amount of athletic aid......academic aid also available
  • Must have participating male and female athletes in each of the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons
  • Do not need to play a minimum number of contests against Division 2 opponents
  • More regional competition as opposed to national competition
  • Institutions tend to have medium to smaller size enrollment

 

NCAA Division 3

  • Must offer at least 10 sports
  • No athletic aid......academic aid still available
  • Must have participating male and female athletes in each of the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons
  • Philosophical emphasis on balance between education and athletics
  • More regional competition as opposed to national competition
  • Institutions tend to have medium to smaller size enrollment

 

How Many Colleges and Universities Play Soccer?

Division 1 Men 204 Division 1 Women 322
Division 2 Men 192 Division 2 Women 244
Division 3 Men 404 Division 3 Women 427
NAIA Men 204 NAIA Women 201
Total 1,004 Total 1,194
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

What are the Soccer Scholarship Limits per Division?

Division 1 Men 9.9 Division 1 Women 14
Division 2 Men 9.0 Division 2 Women 9.9
Division 3 Men No Athletic Aid Division 3 Women No Athletic aid
NAIA Men 12 NAIA Women 12

 

 

 

 

 

What Does a Full Ride Mean?

A 'Full Ride' (or 1.0 scholarship) means that the Athletic Scholarship Award will cover the maximum costs allows by NCAA or NAIA rules;

  • Tuition and Fees (In State or Out of State)
  • Room and Board
  • Books

 

Do all Colleges and Universities Offer the Maximum Soccer Athletic Scholarships Limits Listed Above?

No – the limits above indicate the MAXIMUM an institution can offer. Some institutions may be funded at a lower level and have fewer scholarships available.

 

How Common is it for Colleges and Universities to Offer Full Rides or 1.0 Scholarships?

Division 1 – Depends on the institution, but I would suggest that it is less common than more common. Partial athletic scholarships are definitely more prevalent. Do the math......men have 9.9 athletic scholarships and women have 14 athletic scholarships.......Most squads range from 22 – 30 players. There will be some walk on's (no athletic aid), but most players on a squad are awarded some kind of athletic aid. Partial scholarships ranging from books only, room and board only, tuition only, to a straight cash award are more common.

Division 2 and NAIA - Even less common. Partial athletic aid awards are the vast majority.

Division 3 – No athletic aid awarded – only academic aid.

 

Is it possible to Receive Athletic and Academic Aid from an Institution?

For the most part......Yes.....in fact – college coaches really like this. It is a win-win for both parties. You get a bigger award and the institution is able to stretch out their available athletic aid a bit further. So yes – grades and test scores can really help! There are instances when the academic aid awarded is 'countable' against the teams athletic aid limit – but that is another discussion for another day!

 
 
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