There are many (MANY!) very good schools that play very (VERY!) good football, and offer football scholarships besides the NCAA DI Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Besides being quality educational institutions, the football at many of these schools is being played at an extremely high level. You say you don’t want to give up your dream of playing in the NFL? Well, in 2012 22 players were drafted from non-FBS teams, and over 220 non-FBS players were on NFL rosters. Here are some scholarship numbers and information about non-FBS schools.
There are 125 schools competing in the FCS (formerly NCAA D-IAA). This includes all the Ivy League schools and FCS powers like Appalachian State, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State. Most of these schools have 63 scholarships in their program. Let’s figure that roughly a quarter of the scholarships are used each year -¼ for each class in the program, from incoming freshman, to seniors. That would mean that each school would have about 16 full scholarships available each year to offer to high school seniors. This number could actually, be slightly larger, since FCS schools can split up the scholarships and offer either full or partial rides. For our purposes, we will use 16 as our number.
There are about 160 schools competing in NCAA Division II football. Some of the well-known programs include Northwest Missouri State, Valdosta State, and Pittsburg State. Most of these schools have 36 scholarships in their program, although some conferences don’t allow their schools to have that many. Again, lets figure roughly a quarter of the scholarships are used each year. That would leave about 9 full scholarships to be used for high school seniors each year.
There are about 100 schools that compete in football at the NAIA level. Some of the top NAIA programs include Carroll College, Marion University and Missouri Valley College. Most of these schools can have up to 24 scholarships in their programs. Figuring roughly a quarter of the scholarships used each year would leave about 6 scholarships to use for graduating high school seniors. As with all the NCAA divisions below the FBS level, scholarships at the NAIA level can (and often are) be broken up into partial scholarships.
There are about 70 schools that participate in junior-college football nationally. Some JC powers include Butler (KS) Community College and Snow College (UT). NJCAA programs are permitted 85 scholarships, although many states require their junior colleges to reserve a large number of spaces on the roster for in-state athletes. Kansas, for example, must have 43 Kansas high school graduates on its 55 man active roster. As with the FBS programs, a typical number of scholarships awarded in any given year to high school seniors would be about 20.
So some quick math –
- FBS – 120 schools x 20 scholarships = 2400 scholarships each year
- FCS – 125 schools x 16 scholarships = 2000 scholarships each year
- NCAA II – 160 schools x 9 scholarships = 1400 scholarships each year
- NAIA – 100 schools x 6 scholarships = 600 scholarships each year.
- NJCAA – 70 schools x 20 scholarships = 1400 scholarships each year.
- Total scholarships awarded each year to high school seniors = 7,800
Combining all these different levels (more about this “alphabet soup” later in this book) instead of a pool of 1:100 if you only look at FBS scholarships, we have a slightly more manageable pool of about 3:100 . And this is being conservative for two reasons. First, as I have mentioned, at all the levels below the FBS, the scholarships can split up into partial awards. This means that there are really MORE scholarships awarded each year than the 7,800 number we came up with. Also, we did not count the NCAA Division III schools in this figure. D-III schools do not offer athletic scholarship aid, but it is possible to receive academic or need based aid that can help financially while you play football. There are about 240 D-III schools that play football. So all things being said, when you figure the average number of scholarships (not all full) given to incoming seniors each year, the odds now become about 3:30… just by expanding your pool!
Just by being open to the possibilities of being WANTED … and Rewarded …by more schools than just the Div 1 FBS level you have more than tripled your odds getting athletic scholarship assistance from 1 in 100 to less that 3 in 30!
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