Swing for the Fences and Score Some Financial Aid
The good news about baseball scholarships is that there are a lot of them and in many cases if you can’t get a full-ride there are an abundance of partial baseball scholarships. This is an equivalency sport. Which means college coaches have a lot of flexibility when it comes to divvying up their scholarship money; they can choose to chop it all up and give the majority of players a cut if it means they can attract a more talented ball team.
The point is you don’t have to be professional caliber to snatch a piece of the baseball scholarship pie.
Types of Baseball Scholarships
When it comes to baseball scholarships, there are many colleges offering scholarships, whether full-rides or partials. (If you don't get noticed in time to be recruited, you can even try to earn a walk-on scholarship.) There are three different collegiate athletic associations that all sponsor baseball and baseball scholarships: NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA.
The NCAA sponsors 900 scholarship collegiate baseball programs across Div I and Div II teams. These divisions award athletic scholarships. In baseball coaches are allowed a little over 11.5 scholarships per team for a D1 school and 9 for a D2 school. Sounds like a lot, right? Competition is still fierce.
The NAIA sponsors much fewer member schools than the NCAA does, but it does sanction baseball scholarships. The secret to getting onto a NAIA baseball program is to market yourself as a great athlete and a great student. Very few NAIA athletes get full-ride scholarships.
There is some hands down fierce baseball competition to be found in junior and community college athletic programs. Div I may award 24 full scholarships (room and board, plus tuition, plus expenses like transportation and books) and Div II baseball teams can award 24 scholarships that cover cost tuition and books only.
The Odds of Winning a Walk-On
There are three types of players on any scholarship athletic team: those that were recruited and have scholarship money in their pockets, those that were recruited without scholarship backing, and those that were not invited in the first place. When you attempt a team try-out as a walk-on, not only do you face very difficult competition, but you also face serious discrimination. On a small fraction of athletes make it onto a team this way and many report they fight an uphill battle once there. Chances are likely you will still not have money to play.
Work the Community College Scholarship Deal
If you live in the vicinity of a state, junior college, or community college, check out their baseball scholarships. Remember two-year and junior colleges are usually affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). There is some very competitive play in this association. If you play your cards right you may be able to secure a baseball scholarship for a two-year stint, then move on to a larger college within a couple of years.
As with any athletic scholarship, you have to first get noticed to receive a baseball scholarship. If you choose to market yourself to potential colleges, then you will want to create an athletic profile. This will help to introduce you and to showcase your athletic achievements. (For the most part, coaches are not as interested in what you might be able to do in the future; they want to see your past and current results.) You might also want to include some video footage of some of your best games.
Baseball Scholarships You May Not Know About
Here is an option: when you’ve exhausted athletic scholarships from specific schools, why not explore your options in the private sector? These awards will not pay you to play at a school and may not assure you a spot on the team, but they give you money for school, free and clear.
- The American Legion awards over 50-$1,000 scholarships to outstanding athletes on their baseball team rosters. Applicants must have a high school diploma and provide three letters of recommendation, along with their academic transcript. Winners can use the scholarships at any type of post-secondary educational institution.
- Dixie Youth Baseball is one of the most well-known baseball organizations in the U.S. Many a southerner has played baseball on a DYB league. The organization has amassed a formidable stable of scholarships. If you play on a DYB team you may be eligible for one of the over 70-$2,000 Dixie Youth Baseball scholarships.
- Dizzy Dean Baseball fields youth baseball teams in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas. The national headquarters sponsors the Ty Gaulden Scholarship. Eligible applicants for the Gaulden award must have been on a Dizzy Dean team roster for a minimum of four years, have a high school diploma, be enrolled in a post-secondary educational program, and show financial hardship.
- Dixie Boys Baseball sponsors 11-$1,500 scholarships. This program is not to be confused with Dixie Youth Baseball. Applicants for Dixie Boys awards must be graduating high school seniors who have played Dixie Boy baseball. Winners will be chosen based on academic record and educational and personal goals.