Sports Scholarships Are Awarded a Year At a Time

I'd like to take this opportunity to clear up a common misconception:  Contrary to popular belief, athletic scholarships awarded by college coaches are not guaranteed for a student's entire college career.

On the contrary, athletic scholarships actually cover a one-year period and are renewable for up to five years.  Most are renewed annually, but some are cancelled or renegotiated.  That’s not the same as a guaranteed scholarship.

The most common reason scholarships are not renewed is dismissal from the team.  Whether the cause is bad grades, substance abuse, or violation of team rules, any athlete who is kicked off a team has his or her scholarship revoked. The same goes for athletes who voluntarily quit.

Less frequently, an athlete may lose his or her scholarship because of poor performance on the court or field. Should this happen, an athlete must be notified in writing and may appeal the decision. The NCAA leaves decisions regarding scholarship renewals up to each institution.

In very rare instances, a career-ending injury may cause an athlete to lose his or her scholarship. Most schools, however, do not cancel scholarships unless an athlete is suspended from the team or quits. An athlete who suffers a career-ending injury often keeps his or her scholarship until graduation.

I should also note that it is entirely possible for a "walk-on" athlete to impress coaches enough to eventually earn a scholarship.  That's why they call them "late bloomers!"

Ben Kaplan's picture

A Very Brief Biography

Ben Kaplan is one of the nation's leading experts on college admissions, scholarships, financial aid, educational savings and investing, student success, and youth personal empowerment issues.

He serves as the "mayor" of the City of College Dreams and has authored 12 best-selling books and CDs, including his new instructional DVD, "Finding College Cash in Tough Times."



Athletic Scholarships

Dear Ben:

I just wanted to take a moment to comment on your information regarding Athletic Scholarships. Your information is very good and should be a red alert lesson to all student/athletes that are trying so hard to compete at the next level. I have been scouting athletes for over 8 years and have preached to thousands if not 10's of thousands of high school athletes that their grades are SO important!

Their GPA is to be taken as serious as they do their sport training and their game preperation as to what could happen if they were to get injured and lose all of their athletic scholarship monies. Now if their GPA is taken seriously their academic scholarship should stay in place if injured, this depends on the college or university and what there policy is when this were to occur. At EAA we push academics first so they are solid and balanced when it comes time to be evaluated by colleges for scholarship money.

The last comment about "Walk-On" athletes is partially true, but can also be very debt consuming if they endure this for 1 or 2 or even 4 years just to be a practice player for the coach to use the starters against, I always say "If they dont pay, you don't play!" Across this country there are hundreds of Universities that would love to have that same "Walk-On player at a bigger named school come and play at there university or college and most chances would partially or fully fund that student-athletes education.
But great information on the sport end of scholarship information.

Thanks for your insight for all of the Student-Athletes across the country that dream of playing at the next level.

Chris Warner
National Scouting Director of Escalade Academics & Athletes (EAA)


Sports Scholarships

Good morning Ben,I am entering my last year of high school and I am actively looking at colleges. I am a cheerleader and work very hard at my sport. I would like to continue to cheer on a competitive squad while I attend college and was hoping to research scholarships that may be available. Unfortunately, I have hit a brick wall in my search. Is there some sort of posting of colleges that offer specific scholarships? Thank you for any advice you can give.


sport scholarships

Hello Ben,i am now a senior in high school and i am looking at various colleges and universities that i would to attend. I'm also a left handed softball players and i work extremely hard as a catcher, first baseman as well as an outfielder.I would love to continue and play in college, but i was hoping if there were any scholarships available.