Recruiting Step One – Expand your Pool

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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.

NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision – FCS

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.

NCAA Division II

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.

NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

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.

NJCAA – National Junior College Athletic Association

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!

Next Recruiting lesson – Marketing Yourself

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.


As always – any questions comment or email!

5 thoughts on “Recruiting Step One – Expand your Pool

    • Andrew
      First let me start by saying that yes, it is hard to get recruited by an NCAA Division II school. If you want to play football at ANY collegiate level you have to be a VERY good football player… a very good student-athlete. If you look at the rosters of the good NCAA DII programs, and we have several right in our back yard (NW Missouri, MO Western, University of Central Missouri, Pittsburg State) they are filled with players that were just an inch “too short”, a few pounds “too light” and a tenth of a second “too slow” to play at a FBS school.

      That being said, typically there are more student-athletes that will sign with FCS, DII or NAIA schools. As I pointed out, there are more schools at those levels. Even though they don’t have as many scholarships to use in their program, they CAN split up their scholarships and offer (and sign) athletes to partial scholarships. When I was at UCM and William Jewell, we signed athletes each year to scholarship amounts that ranged from $500 for books, up to a full ride.

      The good thing about the area you live in, Missouri, is that there are many good DII schools that recruit the KC Metro area. The 10 member MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association) is generally considered one of the top DII conferences in the nation. The 12 member Great Lakes Valley Conference (a new DII conference) also includes many area schools such as William Jewell, Missouri S & T, and Drury.

      I hope that answers your question. I will post more information on things you can do to help market yourself over the next few weeks.

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