Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Youth Sports: The Reality of NCAA Scholarships (Part 2)

Crazy Youth Sports Parent, have you promised your little student-athlete a car if he or she gets a scholarship?

I called my sister on her cell phone the other day but she couldn't talk because she was at the car dealer buying a car for my nephew. She had promised him a new car if he ever got an athletic or academic scholarship. Well, he just got a football scholarship and a new car. My sister thought it was a small price to pay because the scholarship was saving the family $112,000 in tuition and fees. (Coastal Carolina University Out of State is approximately $28,000 per year for 4 years.) My dad had the same deal with me. (I did not earn a scholarship). I have the same deal with my kids.

This type of commitment may bite you in the ass. As you saw in the previous post - the average scholarship is only $10,000 per year. And if you read below, scholarships are not guaranteed. You can buy a car and still end up paying for school.

Misconception #3

All athletic scholarship are guaranteed for all four years. Actually, most scholarships are given for one academic year at a time and are offered with the expectation of renewal each year. The coach, however, has the option to renew, reduce or cancel at his/her discretion. The coach is required to send a written notification to each scholarship athlete on or before July 1 to offer a new scholarship or update the status of an existing scholarship as renewed, reduced or canceled. 

Once a scholarship is offered for an academic year, it can only be reduced or cancelled if 1) the athlete makes him or herself ineligible for NCAA competition by violating NCAA eligibility rules, 2) the information on applications or financial aid documents is discovered to be falsified, 3) the athlete violates school rules or 4) the athlete decides to quit the team. Athletic scholarships cannot be reduced or canceled during the year based an injury that prevents an athlete from participating or poor performance. Furthermore, scholarships cannot be increased in a given year for great performance either.

A new rule in 2012 has opened the door for 4 year guaranteed scholarships. The Big Ten schools and a few others are starting to offer these longer term deals for football only, the sport that make the most money for the school. Students like this because it protects them from losing a scholarship for poor performance on the field. Big Ten coaches currently like it because it provides them with a recruiting advantage. Smaller budget conference coaches hate it because it puts them at a disadvantage to recruit players. Some big money team coaches hate it too. They like the flexibility to cut players who are not earning their scholarships. Many programs over sign players. Which means they offer more scholarships than they have to ensure that they get enough new recruits. Well if too many accept the scholarships, the coach either cuts the recruit or cuts a current scholarship player. For more on the over sign issue, click on oversign.comMost likely the 4 year guaranteed deals will be limited to the high revenue generating sports and all other scholarships will be 1 year renewable deals.

Most coaches will honor their commitment and renew a player's scholarship each year but scholarships are sometimes revoked or reduced.

Here are six situations that can derail a scholarship
  1. A school experiences budgets issues and cuts back on scholarships.
  2. A college drops the sports program. Some colleges will honor the scholarship, but if the sport was dropped for financial reasons the institute may not.
  3. A coach may revoke a scholarship if an athlete consistently fails to meet the minimum academic requirements. (Includes 4 year deals)
  4. A coach may revoke a scholarship if the athlete experiences drug or alcohol issues or violates other team rules.  (Includes 4 year deals)
  5. A coach can cut a scholarship player at the end of a year if he or she does not think that the recruit is meeting performance expectations and wants to replace them with a player with more potential. Most coaches honor their commitments, but scholarship athletes do get cut and lose financial aid.
  6. The student athlete might find that the long practices, endless game film watching, exhausting strength and endurance training, extensive travel and restrictions on partying are not worth it and quit the team and forfeit the scholarship to enjoy the college experience.

The Main Point

Think twice before you make a pledge to buy your kid a car for earning a scholarship. 


  1. I received a new car (economy type) for maintaining straight A's through HS. My girls and I have an agreement for a new car as long as they have at least a 4.0. Of course I expect to get my oldest daughter a used car before then...Four kids in multiple sports means I am eagerly awaiting that third driver!

  2. You forgot the most important thing... most college coaches are slime! LOL

    Our daughter earned a very nice division 1 soccer scholarship -- between the athletic and academic award it was a full-ride. She was injured her freshman year, was given a freshman red-shirt, and this meant she would be entitled to a 5 year scholarship... and this brought even larger expectations from the coach. She is now a junior with a 3.8 GPA, and even though these first 3 years have been paid, it has been a terrible experience. She was recruited by this coach from the time she was small. Frankly she had similar offers from larger and better programs, but she liked the academics at her school. She is trying to decide now if she wants to play next year or not -- because although she loves her school and her team, she hates her coach... as do all of the other girls too. The problem is that the AD is new, the coach has a history of abusing the team, and everyone is afraid of him. (Evidently his record is 53 F-bombs at halftime.) He has gotten away with this abuse for 15 years. As a parent, this is a terrible thing to watch! Frankly, I hope she does not play next year... or I hope the girls stand-up and have a team meeting with the AD to tell her about how terrible this coach is.

    1. My Niece had a similar situation. Thankfully the coach got fired after her sophomore year. The girls need to secretly video the abuse and bring it to the AD.

  3. I really appreciated your tips about it. My, boy is only five now but I already thinking about his sport career. I’m will not insisting to make it purpose number one in his life. However, I’m deeply convinced that every kid should have three must do things, during their early life. These three things are sports, learn some musical instrument and at least one foreign language. I hope that one of these fields will interest my son. However, I have no illusions about this. He could easily hate all of this. Nevertheless, I hope if I do it right, he will not. Blogs like yours help me to prepare for many difficulties that, if to be honest I want to meet. The same thing with this service here https://ed.ted.com/on/LG3Q6Jux.




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