2.1. NCAA versus the NAIA

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

  • The NCAA is made up of over 1,200 colleges and universities, with 126,000 student-athletes receiving scholarship money each year.
  • NCAA colleges and universities offer over $1 billion in scholarships each year.
  • Schools that fall within Divisions I and II offer both full and partial athletic scholarships, depending on the sport. Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships and tend to be the more selective academic institutions.
  • Full scholarships (full-rides) are offered for football and both men’s and women’s basketball.
  • Partial scholarships are provided for other sports, which are considered “head count” sports. For example, a men’s golf team may have the equivalent of 4.5 scholarships to divide amongst all the players on the team. The head coach has the authority to divide these as he sees fit, providing either full or partial scholarships.

NCAA Division 1 main points:

  • 5 scholarships per men’s golf team each academic year
  • Players that land on a NCAA D-1 golf roster, tend to be the best players in their region or states
  • Example schools:
    • Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Florida, Georgia Tech, Houston Baptist

NCAA Division 2 main points:

  • 5 scholarships per men’s golf team each academic year
  • Some D-2 programs are not fully funded, which leads to less scholarships for the team
  • D-2 players are typically the top players on their respective high school golf teams
  • Example schools:
    • Edwards University, Chico St. University (CA), Midwestern St.

NCAA Division 3 main points:

  • Do not offer athletic scholarships
  • Average to above average high school golfer
  • Tend to be smaller, private schools
  • Example schools:
    • Trinity College, Texas Lutheran University, UT Dallas

National Associate of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

  • The NAIA includes approximately 300 member institutions, with 90% of those offering athletic scholarships, with the average amount being approximately $7,000 per year.
  • The NAIA has two divisions, with the top level talent comparable to the NCAA Division II.
  • The recruiting rules are not as strict as in the NCAA. For example coaches can start contacting student-athletes in the 9th
  • Academic requirements for NAIA schools also tend to be more lenient than for NCAA schools. High School students must have 2 out of 3 of the following:
  1. Minimum scores of 18 on the ACT, or 860 on the SAT (math and   reading)
  2. Top 50% of class ranking
  3. GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale (determined by HS)
  • While official recruiting trips are limited to five in NCAA, there is no such restriction in the NAIA.
  • Finally, “amateur” rules do not apply, as the NAIA allows you to have received a minimal amount of compensation in your athletic career, whereas NCAA is much stricter.

NAIA main points:

  • Top NAIA golf programs can rival the best in NCAA D-1 because the academic requirements are lower at the NAIA level to be eligible
  • Great option for foreign players
  • Roughly 300 schools
  • Example Schools:
    • Texas Wesleyan University
    • Our Lady of the Lake University
    • Thomas University

2.2. The Impact of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Title IX of the federal government’s Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits gender discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance

Title IX essentially requires an equal number of athletic scholarships be offered to both men and women athletes. The impact has been an obvious increase in athletic scholarships for women, while creating an “imbalance” in scholarships for men’s sports.

Because on the men’s side, football receives 85 full scholarships and there are no women’s football teams, other women’s sports need to be credited with 85 scholarships to be fair. This has the effect of reducing scholarships available or other men’s sports, with the exception of men’s basketball. For example, a men’s baseball team is able to only give 11.7 scholarships per year, while they have a roster of 35 players on average, compared to a women’s softball team that is able to offer 12 scholarships for typically 17 players.

However, it is interesting to note that after passage of Title IX, graduation rates for women increased with more receiving bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in 2008 than any previous year.

2.3. Junior College, Home-Schooled, and International Student Athletes

  • Junior College Student-AthletesIf your dream is to play at an NCAA Division I school, but you do not yet possess the physical tools, you should consider spending a couple years at a junior college. It is much easier to transfer from a 2-year school than from a 4-year school. For example, you do not need a written release from your junior college to transfer, while transferring from one 4-year NCAA or NAIA school requires such a release. Also, in some instances, junior college teams are more competitive than some NCAA and NAIA teams.

  • Home-Schooled Student-AthletesSince opening GPG, we have consulted with numerous parents who think that their child has no chance to play at the college level because he or she did not attend a traditional high school. However, there are clubs and organizations that field teams of only home-schooled high school student-athletes. Sometimes these even compete against local high schools. The point is that by competing with these clubs or organizations, a home-schooled athlete can also develop the talent and credentials to compete at the college level.

The main thing that you have to be weary of as a home scholar is the accreditation of your home school courses. Please refer to the following website to make sure you are on the right academic course in your home-school practices:

  • International Student-AthletesThe biggest thing that holds international recruits back from playing at the top NCAA level is a prior professional athletic career. Most young individuals growing up overseas receive compensation for their athletic abilities, which, in turn negates their amateur status.

However, as noted above, since the NAIA is more lenient on amateurism rules than the NCAA, many talented foreign athletes have the potential to continue on their athletic careers at an NAIA school. 


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