Let’s face the facts, college is expensive. Whether you want to go to a public school or a private school, the vast majority of people don’t have the money to pay cash for college. But you have an advantage that most people don’t, you are a great baseball player.
If you have attended showcases and played against some of the best players in the world, you may think you are good enough to play college baseball and possibly even earn a full scholarship.
So is it possible to get a full college scholarship for baseball?
Being offered a full athletic scholarship to play college baseball is extremely rare, but fortunately, there are other ways to pay for your tuition, sometimes even the full amount.
In this article, we will take a look at:
- Why there are so few baseball scholarships
- How the position you play affects your ability to earn a full scholarship
- Other ways to pay for your tuition
Lack of Scholarships
Baseball is an equivalency sport which means that college baseball coaches are able to give partial scholarships to athletes.
A college baseball coach must spread their small amount of baseball scholarships among a maximum of 27 players. The minimum amount a coach can offer a baseball player is 25% of a scholarship.
To read more about scholarship limits for each division of college baseball and gain a greater understanding of roster size along with a deeper explanation of baseball as an equivalency sport, check out this post on “What Percent of Baseball Players Get Scholarships”.
The Position You Play
It is a known fact in baseball that a team’s best players will play “up the middle” in little league, high school, and college. These are the players that will have the best opportunity to not only play college baseball but also earn a full scholarship because of their value to the team.
What positions are considered “up the middle”? There are four positions that are “up the middle” and they are:
- Center Field
To take a closer look at why these positions are more likely to earn a full scholarship, let’s divide them into two groups: pitcher and fielder.
It goes without saying that the pitcher is the most important player in the game, and if you’re one of the best in high school baseball, you could reasonably expect to receive a full scholarship.
As I explained above, a catcher, shortstop, and a center fielder are more likely to receive a full baseball scholarship offer due to their importance in the game. But why? Let’s look at each position individually.
A catcher has a specific skill set not common among most players on the team. A good defensive catcher is of the utmost value to a baseball team due to their ability to save runs.
The defensive catcher can save runs because of their ability to block the ball in the dirt, frame pitches, and throw out base runners who try to steal a base.
A shortstop and a center fielder have a lot of value to college teams due to three traits:
- Good, strong arm
- Ability to play multiple positions
Having speed and a good, strong arm doesn’t warrant any further explanation. However, the reason why these players have the most value to a college baseball coach is their ability to play multiple positions.
You can take a shortstop or a center fielder with the above traits and play them at any position in the field minus pitcher and catcher. When you have a limited number of scholarships, a player who can play multiple positions has the most value.
Other Methods to Pay for Tuition
Because of the 11.7 scholarship limit (which you can read about here), it’s very difficult to get a full baseball scholarship. However, there is another method called “stacking”.
The “stacking” method uses three types of scholarships to pay for your full cost of tuition and fees. The three types are:
- Athletic Scholarship
- Academic Scholarship
- Grants/Federal Financial Aid
A school will use parts of all three areas, or “stack”, to pay for the full cost of your attendance at their school.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say the full cost of tuition, fees, and room and board is $20,000 a year and you are wanting to attend an NCAA Division I school.
Since an NCAA Division I baseball team is limited to only 11.7 scholarships, most players only receive a percentage of an athletic scholarship.
For our current example, we’ll say that the coach has offered you a 25% athletic scholarship so that will cover $5,000 of your first year in the school.
Let’s say you’re a smart kid (which most baseball players are) that made good grades in school. For this reason, you are also eligible for an academic scholarship.
The school offers you a 25% academic scholarship. This is worth another $5,000 towards your total cost.
Stacked with your athletic scholarship, you have covered $10,000 or 50% of the total cost for the year at your college.
Grants/Federal Financial Aid
Schools will also use grants and federal financial aid to help pay for your college.
According to studentaid.ed.gov, grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they are free money – financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization.
Each student must fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application to be able to receive any federal grant, federal financial assistance, or a federal loan.
As you can see, your school has many different ways they can help pay for your school through grants.
Using our example, the school was able to find enough grants and federal financial aid to cover the remaining 50% of your cost of college.
Finishing with our example, the school will stack a 25% athletic scholarship with a 25% academic scholarship and use grants and other federal financial aid to cover the remaining 50% and cover the total cost of college your first year.
I understand that it is rare that a player is offered a full athletic scholarship, but aren’t there a lot of college baseball players?
Compared to the number of baseball players in high school, the number of college baseball players is relatively low. You can see a full breakdown of the number of baseball players in college in our article, “What Percent of Baseball Players Get Scholarships?”
Is there a place I can go to help me be seen by college coaches increase my chance at a college baseball scholarship?
Yes! The best way to be seen by college coaches is to attend a baseball showcase. You can find out how to prepare for a baseball showcase by reading our article, “How to Prepare for a Baseball Showcase: A Champion’s Guide”.