Which College Sport Gives Out the Most Scholarships?

When it comes to college athletics, scholarships play a crucial role in attracting talented athletes and supporting their academic pursuits. While numerous sports offer scholarships, some are more generous than others. So, which college sport gives out the most scholarships? In this article, we will explore the landscape of college sports scholarships and identify the sport that provides the highest number of opportunities for student-athletes.

Understanding College Sports Scholarships

Before delving into the sport that offers the most scholarships, let’s first establish a basic understanding of college sports scholarships. These scholarships are essentially financial aid packages awarded to student-athletes to help cover the costs of their education while participating in sports at the collegiate level.

College sports scholarships can be classified into two main categories: head count scholarships and equivalency scholarships. Head count scholarships are full-ride scholarships that cover the entire cost of tuition, fees, room, board, and often additional expenses like textbooks and equipment. Each head count scholarship represents one full scholarship slot and cannot be divided among multiple athletes.

On the other hand, equivalency scholarships are divided into partial scholarships. Coaches have a certain number of scholarship slots available, and they can divide these scholarships among multiple athletes. For example, if a coach has ten equivalency scholarships, they could offer each of their athletes a scholarship that covers a portion of their expenses, such as tuition or room and board.

It’s important to note that not all sports offer the same number of scholarships, and the availability of scholarships can vary between divisions and conferences within the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).

The Sport with the Most Scholarships

When it comes to the sport that gives out the most scholarships, the answer may surprise you: football. Football, particularly at the NCAA Division I level, offers the most scholarships compared to any other sport. This is primarily due to the large number of players on a football team and the revenue generated by the sport.

In Division I football, programs are allowed to offer up to 85 full-ride scholarships per team. This means that each football team can provide financial aid to a substantial number of athletes, covering all their educational expenses. With over 100 Division I football programs across the country, the number of scholarships available is significant.

Football scholarships are highly sought after, and competition can be fierce. Coaches carefully evaluate players during the recruiting process, considering their athletic abilities, performance, and potential contributions to the team. Given the number of scholarships available, football offers a considerable opportunity for student-athletes to continue their athletic and academic careers at the collegiate level.

Other Sports Scholarships

While football may lead the pack in terms of the sheer number of scholarships, other sports also offer substantial opportunities for student-athletes. Let’s take a closer look at a few notable examples:

  1. Basketball: Basketball, particularly men’s basketball at the Division I level, is another sport that provides a significant number of scholarships. Division I basketball programs are allowed to offer up to 13 full-ride scholarships per team. With over 300 Division I basketball programs nationwide, the total number of scholarships available is substantial.
  2. Soccer: Soccer is a sport that has been rapidly growing in popularity in the United States. NCAA Division I men’s and women’s soccer teams can offer up to 9.9 and 14 full-ride scholarships respectively. Soccer scholarships provide a great opportunity for talented players to compete at the college level while earning their degree.
  3. Track and Field: Track and field is a diverse sport with multiple events, and it offers a considerable number of scholarships for both men and women. NCAA Division I track and field teams have 12.6 full-ride scholarships available for men and **18 full-ride scholarships for women. With various events such as sprints, distance running, jumping, and throwing, track and field scholarships attract athletes with a wide range of skills.
  4. Volleyball: Volleyball is a popular sport, particularly among women, and it offers a significant number of scholarships at the college level. NCAA Division I volleyball teams can offer up to 12 full-ride scholarships per team. The sport’s competitive nature and the opportunity to compete in a team-oriented environment make volleyball scholarships highly desirable for aspiring student-athletes.
  5. Golf: Golf is an individual sport that also provides scholarship opportunities for talented players. NCAA Division I men’s golf teams can offer up to 4.5 full-ride scholarships, while women’s golf teams have 6 full-ride scholarships available. Golf scholarships not only recognize players’ skills on the course but also their academic achievements.

It’s worth noting that the number of scholarships available can vary between divisions and conferences within the NCAA. Division II and III schools also offer scholarships, although the number and distribution may differ from those in Division I. Additionally, sports outside the NCAA, such as NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and junior colleges, provide scholarship opportunities for student-athletes as well.

Pursuing College Sports Scholarships

For student-athletes aspiring to compete at the collegiate level, pursuing sports scholarships can be a valuable avenue for both athletic and academic development. However, it’s important to approach the process with careful consideration and thorough research. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Academic Eligibility: Maintaining good academic standing is crucial for student-athletes. Eligibility requirements vary depending on the division and institution, so it’s essential to understand and meet the academic standards set by the NCAA or other governing bodies.
  2. Sports Performance and Exposure: To increase your chances of securing a sports scholarship, focus on developing your athletic abilities and gaining exposure. Participate in competitive events, attend showcases and camps, and create an athletic profile that highlights your achievements and skills.
  3. Contacting Coaches: Reach out to college coaches to express your interest in their program. Provide them with your athletic profile, academic records, and any relevant videos or game footage. Building a relationship with coaches can help you understand their scholarship availability and improve your chances of being recruited.
  4. Financial Aid and Scholarships: Keep in mind that college sports scholarships are highly competitive, and not all athletes receive full-ride scholarships. Familiarize yourself with other financial aid options, such as academic scholarships, grants, and student loans, to ensure you can fund your education even if a sports scholarship doesn’t materialize.


College sports scholarships open doors of opportunity for talented student-athletes across various sports. While football offers the highest number of scholarships due to the size of the teams and revenue generated, other sports like basketball, soccer, track and field, volleyball, and golf also provide substantial scholarship opportunities.

Choosing the right sport and division that aligns with your skills, goals, and academic pursuits is essential when pursuing a college sports scholarship. Remember to maintain a balance between your athletic and academic commitments, as both play a crucial role in your overall success as a student-athlete.

Ultimately, the pursuit of a college sports scholarship requires dedication, hard work, and a strategic approach. By understanding the landscape of scholarships and staying focused on your goals, you can maximize your chances of securing a scholarship and continuing your athletic and academic journey at the collegiate level.

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