Scholarships in Division 1 Athletics

Posted: November 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Andrew Curtis

Scholarships in NCAA Division 1 athletics can be a complicated matter. At the University of Kansas, there’s an organized manner in which these scholarships are distributed to the athletes in each sport.

According to Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony, there are five head count sports, in which a player either receives a full ride scholarship or no scholarship to play.

“A full scholarship includes required books, tuition & fees and room and board, per the NCAA,” Marchiony said.

The rest of the sports are considered percentage sports, which allows coaches to be more flexible, offering any amount of scholarship allowable.

“Some teams have not reached their maximum for the year and are likely to award aid for the spring semester,” Marchiony said, regarding the percentage sports.

The percentage sports include men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s track and field as well as cross country, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, baseball and softball.

For instance, the men’s track and field team has used 12.09 of a maximum 12.6 allowable scholarships, while the women have used 16.81 out of 18, so both could feasibly add another athlete for the spring as long as they don’t go over budget.

Each program has a spreadsheet that breaks down the percentage of a full scholarship that each athlete receives, without revealing names. Some sports are offered more than others, including women’s teams offering more scholarships than men’s.

For example, the softball team has 18 players, but only 12 total scholarships available, all broken down into percentages.

“We have kids on all kinds of percentages up and down the list,” assistant softball coach Adam Roorbach said. “We can divvy those up however we want, but we just have to spread it out depending on what we need.”

Only four of softball players are receiving 100 percent of available scholarship money. Three players get 90 percent, one gets 85, one gets 80 and the rest are getting 72 percent of full scholarship money or below.

However, some sports have more strict requirements. Baseball gives out 11.7 scholarships and has a rule in place that makes it mandatory for each player that’s receiving money to get a minimum of a 25 percent reward, unless they are a senior.

Baseball also has a capacity limit of 27 players receiving partial scholarships, which that most aid being rewarded at about two thirds of a scholarship.

As a coach in a sport that is a little more lenient with scholarships, Roorbach likes being able to be more flexible.

“We can give any amount of money we see fit, so that’s nice,” Roorbach said.

The head count sports include men’s and women’s basketball, football, tennis and volleyball. Men’s basketball is the only one that caps out its scholarship limit due to the small roster size.

All sports have non-scholarship players that are otherwise known as “walk-ons”, but each sport has its own regulations. The softball team encourages walk-ons to try out, although nothing is guaranteed.

“We’re always open to that, but it’s not something that happens every year,” Roorbach said. “It’s mainly based on what our needs are and what happens over the summer.”

Whether it’s a percentage sport or head count sport, coaches are always recruiting and thinking of how to break down their rosters. While coaches would love to give every player as much scholarship aid as possible, that’s not always something that’s feasible.

With all the regulations the NCAA gives today, it’s made things harder than they actually are, but coaches in every sport are evolving with the rules in place and figuring out a way to make it work.

The University of Kansas is just one of the many institutions that has to comply, and each program has managed it well enough to keep functioning and competing at the highest collegiate level.

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