In the realm of college baseball, there are over 1,650 programs across NCAA schools, NAIA schools, and junior colleges. With around 34,500 college baseball players competing for about 5,400 scholarships, the race is intense. Baseball is classified as an equivalency sport, allowing scholarships to be divided and awarded to multiple players. Full-ride scholarships for baseball players are quite uncommon. In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of baseball scholarships.
Baseball Scholarships by Division Level
|Division Level||Number of Teams||Total Athletes||Average Team Size||Scholarship Limit Per Team||Scholarship Limit Type|
As of August 1, 2020, the NCAA D1 Council adopted legislation that eased regulations for need-based aid and academic scholarships unrelated to athletic ability. While baseball teams still have a maximum athletic scholarship cap, student-athletes can pursue as much need-based aid and academic scholarships as they qualify for.
It’s important to note that Ivy League, Patriot League programs, and Division 3 schools do not offer athletic scholarships. Scholarship limits per team represent the maximum number of scholarships a school can award, but this does not necessarily indicate the number of scholarships a team will have. Some Division 1 programs, for instance, may offer fewer than 11.7 scholarships because not all teams are fully-funded.
D1 Baseball Scholarships
- Total baseball programs: 298
- Maximum scholarships available per program: 11.7
D1 baseball programs often start recruiting earlier than other division levels, with some verbal offers and commitments made by an athlete’s sophomore year of high school. Under NCAA rules, a D1 baseball team’s 11.7 scholarships can be divided between a maximum of 27 players on a 35-player roster. All players on athletic scholarships must receive a minimum of a 25 percent scholarship, leaving room for eight walk-ons.
Academically, athletes must complete 10 of their 16 core courses before their senior year in high school, have at least a 2.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and meet the required ACT or SAT score based on the sliding scale. To be eligible to play at the Division 1 or Division 2 level, athletes must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Related: Small D1 Baseball Colleges
D2 Baseball Scholarships
- Total baseball programs: 259
- Maximum scholarships available: 9
Some athletes who play D2 baseball have the ability to play for a D1 program, but choose D2 to play earlier in their career or qualify for more athletic scholarship money. Division 2 programs begin identifying prospects early in the process and often make verbal offers before the early signing period during a student-athlete’s senior year.
NCAA academic eligibility requirements for Division 2 are similar to Division 1. To compete at the Division 2 level, recruits must complete specific core course requirements and meet the required test scores based on their core course GPA.
D3 Baseball Scholarships
- Total baseball programs: 374
- Maximum scholarships available: 0
Division 3 programs do not offer athletic scholarships but can assemble appealing financial aid packages that rival athletic scholarships at other levels. These programs typically have limited recruiting budgets and depend on student-athletes reaching out to them to express their interest, providing video footage for evaluation.
Unlike Division 1 and Division 2 levels, there are no NCAA academic requirements, as each university sets its own standards. However, many Division 3 schools are academically rigorous. Athletes should research the admissions requirements at their target schools to ensure they qualify.
NAIA Baseball Scholarships
- Total baseball programs: 212
- Maximum scholarships available: 12
High-level players often choose to play at the NAIA level to obtain better athletic scholarship packages. Academically, athletes must meet two of the following three requirements: finishing in the top half of their graduating class, having a minimum 2.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), or scoring 850 on the SAT or 16 on the ACT. Recruits must register with the NAIA Eligibility Center to compete at the NAIA level.
Junior College Baseball Scholarships
- Total baseball programs: 511
- Maximum scholarships available: 24
The purpose of junior college baseball is to provide players with two years (sometimes one) of athletic and academic development. Many junior college baseball programs have high-level talent and are known for placing their players in solid NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 programs.
Academically, recruits must graduate from high school or receive a state-authorized GED. Those who haven’t graduated high school must pass 12 college credits with at least a 1.75 GPA.
Can you get a full-ride scholarship for baseball?
Full-ride scholarships for baseball are rare due to the limited number of scholarships available to the entire team. At the Division 1 level, that number is 11.7. Coaches award partial scholarships among their roster, and the position an athlete plays can also be a factor. Most of a program’s scholarship money typically goes to pitchers, catchers, and the most solid hitters.
How long does a baseball scholarship last?
Most athletes sign a one-year scholarship agreement with their program, guaranteeing their athletic scholarship for that year. In subsequent years, the athlete must renew their scholarship. Multi-year scholarship agreements are allowed but not widely used for baseball teams.
What is a good baseball scholarship offer?
A “good” baseball scholarship offer depends on various factors, such as the coach’s discretion to distribute scholarships across their rosters and varying tuition costs. We recommend families enter the recruiting process with a clear financial picture of what they’re willing to pay for four years of college, putting them in a better position to consider scholarship offers based on their out-of-pocket expenses.
How does your position affect your scholarship?
Priority positions for baseball recruiting are pitchers, catchers, shortstops, and center fielders. Coaches typically build their roster through the middle of the field. Other positions can be in line for scholarships, but it depends on the coach’s specific roster needs.
What are my chances of getting a baseball scholarship?
Playing college baseball is fiercely competitive. Only about 9 percent of high school players go on to compete at the college level, and less than 2 percent compete at the NCAA Division 1 level.
How to negotiate a baseball scholarship offer?
There is an etiquette to baseball scholarship discussions. An introductory email is not the appropriate platform to declare, “I’m looking for a scholarship.” The most likely time to discuss scholarships will be during a face-to-face meeting with the coach, either on an official or unofficial visit.
The strongest negotiation position for a recruit is when they have offers from other schools. College baseball is highly competitive, and a coach won’t want to lose a prized recruit to another program. When negotiating a scholarship offer, it’s better to ask, “Is there a way to make this number work in the future?” rather than demanding a specific amount. Read more about negotiating your scholarship offer.