Athletic scholarships can vary widely across different sports and different divisions in the NCAA. For a number of reasons, certain programs are allotted more scholarship capacity than others and there are different restrictions on how scholarship pools can be distributed. Much of this is determined by specific NCAA guidelines on how many scholarships each sport’s program is allowed to give.
The key thing to understand is that some sports give more scholarships than others, but this does not necessarily mean that these sports present the easiest opportunity to get a scholarship. There are certain factors to consider for determining the easiest sports to get a scholarship, such as the number of athletes competing for spots, the size of the roster, the size and funding capacity of the school, and of course, the amount of scholarships that are allowed to be given per the NCAA. For men’s sports, lacrosse, ice hockey, and baseball have the highest percentages of high school athletes receiving collegiate scholarships, and the same goes for ice hockey, lacrosse, and soccer in women’s programs.
To reiterate, there’s an important difference between the sports that give the most scholarships as a whole versus the sports where athletes have the best chance of getting a scholarship. For information on sports that give the most scholarships, check out this blog. For this article, we’re going to focus on which sports are easiest to get a scholarship, the factors that determine this, and how it can apply to your recruiting process.
Which Men’s Sports Are Easiest To Get A Scholarship?
As we said before, lacrosse, ice hockey, and baseball are the easiest men’s sports to get a scholarship in. A good way to measure this is by looking at the percentage of high school athletes that advance to play in college and receive some kind of athletic scholarship. Let’s analyze lacrosse, hockey, and baseball so you can get an idea of how the numbers and various factors make these the easiest men’s sports for receiving a scholarship.
Lacrosse: In recent years, there have been about 110,000 players competing in high school lacrosse, and over 14,000 playing in college. This means that over 12% of high school players make it to the next level, which is greater than most other sports. Further, in Division I men’s lacrosse, there are about 75 programs, and each program is allowed to give 12.6 athletic scholarships on an equivalency basis, so these scholarships can be distributed fully or partially among as many players as the coach decides. So, there are over 1,000 scholarships available in Division I men’s lacrosse, and just over 3,200 players in the division, which means there is a large percentage of college lacrosse players who will access these scholarships, and the numbers are very similar across Division II lacrosse. Lastly, lacrosse is primarily popular in America, so there is very little international competition that you might find in other sports. By looking at the strong percentage of high school players who advance to college, as well as the amount of scholarships available relative to the number of competing players, it’s evident why lacrosse is the easiest men’s sport to get a scholarship.
Ice Hockey: Hockey is a more competitive sport in terms of making it to the college level, but the scholarship numbers are still favorable to many other sports. There are typically around 35,000 players in high school hockey programs, and around 3,500 competing in college, which means about 10% of players will go on to compete at some college level, and this is still a good yield relative to other sports. However, athletic scholarships are only given at the Division I and Division II levels (this applies to all sports), where about half of those 3,500 collegiate players are. Similar to lacrosse, men’s hockey is an equivalency sport, and teams in Division I are allowed to distribute 18 full scholarships across the team, which is also a high number relative to other sports. In Division I Men’s Hockey, there are about 60 programs and 1,700 total players, meaning that there are over 1,000 scholarships available for these players, which again is a very strong ratio. However, it’s also important to note that there are a lot of international players who compete for college roster spots, as well as players who opt out of high school hockey for elite junior league and club teams. While hockey is still one of the easier men’s sports for getting a scholarship, you should be aware that the data is not always fully comprehensive due to these other factors.
Baseball: Baseball is a much larger sport than lacrosse and hockey, but the chances of getting a scholarship are still high relative to other sports. There are over 500,000 high school baseball players in the US, and over 11% of those players move on to compete at the college level. For Division I Men’s Baseball, teams are allowed to give 11.7 scholarships on an equivalency basis. With ~300 programs and ~10,000 total players in Division I, there are athletic scholarships available for about 35% of players in the field, which again is a strong number relative to other sports.
Looking at this kind of data is a good way to assess how easy it is to get a scholarship for any given sport. Using these three sports as an example, it’s important to realize that scholarships are most accessible where there is a high rate of players that advance from high school to college, and a good number of scholarships allowed by the NCAA relative to the number of programs and total players.
Which Women’s Sports Are Easiest To Get A Scholarship?
For women, the easiest sports to get a scholarship are ice hockey, lacrosse, and soccer, and this is a result of many of the same reasons discussed above. Let’s take a closer look at these sports.
Ice Hockey: Nearly 20% of the 10,000 high school players in women’s ice hockey go on to compete at the college level, which is a far greater percentage than most other sports. Per the NCAA, Division I Women’s Ice Hockey programs can give 18 equivalency scholarships per season. There are only 35 programs and around 900 total players, which is highly favorable given that there are about 650 total scholarships available. The lower competition for college roster spots in addition to high scholarship capacity among schools creates a very strong opportunity for getting a scholarship.
Lacrosse: There are around 95,000 players in women’s high school lacrosse and over 13,000 competing in college, which presents a strong rate of about 13% of players advancing to collegiate levels. In Division I Women’s Lacrosse, there are 115 programs, ~3,500 total players, and programs can give up to 12 equivalency scholarships per the NCAA. So, as a whole for Division I, around 1/3rd of players are technically covered for full scholarships, but as an equivalency sport, the scholarships are generally divided into partial amounts. Regardless, scholarships in women’s lacrosse are far more accessible than many other sports.
Soccer: Women’s soccer is highly popular, with over 380,000 players competing at the high school level. Generally, about 10% of these players will advance to make a college roster spot at some level, which, like we’ve said before, is a relatively good rate. The NCAA grants Division I Women’s Soccer programs with the ability to give 14 equivalency scholarships per season, which is on the higher end compared to several other women’s sports. Further, there are over 330 Division I Women’s soccer schools, and ~9,500 total athletes in the division. Using these numbers, you can see that there are about 4,600 total scholarships available, covering almost half the players for full scholarships, but to reiterate, as an equivalency sport these scholarships are divided into full and partial awards at the discretion of coaches. Along with the other sports analyzed above, the key thing is that there is a large scholarship pool relative to the number of players, which is why soccer is high on the list of women’s sports for obtaining a scholarship.
Remember that while the numbers and data never paint the entire picture in terms of scholarship access, the same factors set certain sports apart from one another and these are important things to consider as you approach different opportunities throughout recruiting.
Things To Keep In Mind
Athletic Scholarships Are Rare: The reality of recruiting as a whole is while some sports are more favorable than others for receiving a scholarship, athletic scholarships are very rare and none are “easy” to get. No matter the sport, there is always fierce competition to play at the highest levels and there is always a limit on the amount of scholarship money available. Some opportunities are more achievable than others, but getting an athletic scholarship is difficult and they are only attainable at the highest levels of collegiate sports.
Looking At The Full Picture: Remember that there are certain factors that play a major role in comparing different sports and how easy it is to get a scholarship. It’s important to look at the level of competition to play beyond high school, the number of programs and total players, and of course, the NCAA limits on scholarships for each sport. You don’t want to overthink the scholarship process as a whole but it can also be very helpful to be aware of how different opportunities compare as a result of various logistics and factors.
What is the easiest sport to get a scholarship in? ›
Track and field scholarships are considered to be one of the most accessible and easy to obtain. That is largely due to limited competition. Many athletes are involved in track and field disciplines.What is the easiest sport to get recruited for college? ›
For men's sports, lacrosse, ice hockey, and baseball have the highest percentages of high school athletes receiving collegiate scholarships, and the same goes for ice hockey, lacrosse, and soccer in women's programs.What sport are you most likely to get a scholarship for? ›
In Division I men's sports, football gives the most scholarships, followed by ice hockey, basketball, track & field, lacrosse and baseball. For women, the most scholarships are offered in rowing, then track & field, ice hockey, and basketball.What sport looks best on a college application? ›
Think of it this way football and basketball are likely the most impressive sports but a benchwarmer football player will always be less impressive than a varsity lacrosse player. But also competition level matters.What is the hardest sport to get recruited for? ›
- Football. This is the most popular sport in the country, and the most difficult to get recruited for. ...
- Baseball/Softball. America's pastime shares much the same fate as football, but both genders can participate in this one. ...
- Men's Wrestling. ...
- Track and Field. ...
- Fencing. ...
- Women's Crew.
What are the best sports for Ivy League admissions? Specialized sports that are not offered at many high schools like crew, fencing, and pole vaulting are typically the strongest at Ivy League schools.What sports do colleges recruit for? ›
|Basketball||13 (men's) 15 (women's)||15|
|Cross Country||12.6 (men's) 18 (women's)||10|
|Football||85 (FBS) 63 (FCS)||85|
D1 schools can offer 85 scholarships. This is then followed by hockey which can provide 18. Followed by Basketball which can offer 13 scholarships. However, in terms of the ratio of roster spots and scholarships football is the best.What is the easiest sport in the world? ›
Running is easily the most accessible and easiest sport to play. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and your good to go. There are no rules in running, but that's what makes running so free-form and fun. Running is all about setting goals for yourself and working to achieve those goals.Can sports help you get a scholarship? ›
For student athletes, getting an athletic scholarship can be part of the answer to the question of how to pay for college. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA®), Division I and Division II schools offer more than $3.6 billion in scholarship funding annually.
What is the easiest sport to go pro? ›
In the US, it's golf. There are over 28,000 members of the Professional Golfer's Association in this country. That is a huge number compared to baseball, football, basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis, bowling, or volleyball players or rodeo riders.What is the most popular high school girls sport? ›
Track and field has been the most popular high school sport for girls in the United States for several years. In the school year 2021/2022, around 456.7 thousand female high schoolers across the North American country were engaged in this sporting activity.What is the most common sport for a girl to play? ›
Most popular women's sports globally 2021
As of June 2021, soccer was the most popular women's sport worldwide, with 22 percent of respondents claiming to follow the sport.
Playing team sports, such as football or basketball, also lets colleges know that you've been able to function as part of a team. Athletic participation generally takes up quite a bit of time and requires significant effort to develop skills.What sports do most colleges offer? ›
What sports do most colleges offer? The size of a university and its total student population factor into the number of sports teams offered at a given school. A typical collegiate sports list may include football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, swimming, and volleyball.What sport do most students prefer? ›
∴ Tennis is the most played sport in the school. Q. The following table shows the favourite sports of 250 students of a school. Represent the data by a bar graph.What sport takes the most talent? ›
Top Ranked Skill Sports.
|2||Swimming (200m Free)||86.9|
At the other end of the spectrum, of the official NCAA sports for which data was provided, the three least-common sports are gymnastics (99 combined men's and women's teams), bowling (68 women's teams), and sand volleyball (56 women's teams).What sport is best at Harvard? ›
With an endowment able to attract and retain some of the top athletic talents in the nation, Harvard's long history in the world of Ivy League sports teams puts it high on our list of top Ivy League schools. Harvard is best known for their football team, the Harvard Crimson football team.What sport gets you into Harvard? ›
Well, most of the sports for which Harvard recruits — crew, squash, sailing, water polo, fencing, lacrosse, rugby, skiing and golf (to name a few) — are not what public high schools typically offer, and the travel, equipment and instruction these sports require make the cost of participation prohibitive for many ...
Do sports matter when applying for college? ›
It may be helpful for students to know that admission committees at highly selective colleges generally don't value athletic involvement over participation in other extracurricular activities unless an applicant is a recruit.What do D1 coaches look for? ›
D1 coaches cared more about athleticism, height/weight, and speed than other coaches. Those are generally characteristics of developmental players. D1 coaches are the most likely to take a player with the raw skill set and try to turn him into a great football player.Can you play sports in college without being recruited? ›
You can play sports without being recruited by walking onto a team at any college or university. Colleges hold walk-on tryouts every year to fill positions on their rosters still open after the recruiting process has ended.What do D1 colleges look for? ›
Coaches will look at your family's athletic history and the size of your parents/relatives to see if you might develop into a DI athlete. In sports like track and swimming, they will be interested in you training history to see if you have a lot of room to improve with proper training. Are you the best on your team?How hard is it to get a soccer scholarship? ›
Every year, thousands of high school students compete for scholarships to play soccer at the collegiate level. Soccer scholarships are highly competitive and require athletes to play at their highest level and form relationships with college coaches.How hard is it to get a swimming scholarship? ›
Having a high enough GPA or SAT/ACT score is the passport to obtaining a swimming scholarship. Achievements in the pool will count for nothing if you do not have the right academic grades. The College Sports America team has the ability and the experience to steer you through the qualification process.Is it easy to get a baseball scholarship? ›
Baseball scholarships are not as plentiful as they are in other sports. At the Division 1 level, there are only up to 11.7 scholarships for each school; at the Division 2 level, there is a maximum scholarships limit of only nine.What sport works hardest? ›
According to Sports Virsa, the top 10 hardest sports in the world to play in 2022 are as follows: Boxing (hardest), American football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and water polo.What sport requires the least skill? ›
- Weightlifting is about bending your body and lifting a heavyweight up. ...
- Rowing involves sitting in one spot and pushing and pulling faster than other rowing teams or individuals around you. ...
- Fishing involves sitting or standing with a rod in your hand and having patience.
Which sport has the fittest athletes? ›
|Ranking||Sport||Overall Fitness Rating (%)|
|Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes in Sports|
Which sport is the easiest?
- Table Tennis/Ping Pong.
Hardest Men's Scholarship to Earn
Wrestling: only a 2.7% chance of earning a scholarship. Of the 395 programs, 78 of them are NCAA DI offering 9.9 scholarships per team. There are 64 NCAA DII programs offering 9 scholarships per team.
You need a GPA of 2.5 or above over 16 core classes, and your ACT/SAT scores must be high enough that they meet NCAA minimum standards when combined with your GPA. Aside from the NCAA requirements, you should have superior grades and test scores to compete for full ride athletic scholarships.How many kids get athletic scholarships? ›
Only 57% of Division I athletes receive some form of financial aid, ranging from a book scholarship to a “full ride.” The amount is slightly higher in Division II at 63%.What sport is best to start in? ›
- Soccer. One of the best sports for beginners is soccer. ...
- Basketball. Basketball is also a great sport for beginners to get into! ...
- Baseball. Another of the easiest sports for beginners is baseball. ...
- Swimming. ...
- Cycling. ...
- 5 top sports for beginners to try.
Top 5 Sports to Try for Beginners
One of the best sports for beginners is soccer. ... Basketball. Basketball is also a great sport for beginners to get into! ... Baseball.
Here are 10 more individualized, non-competitive sports for your child under the of 10 years old.
- 1 Cycling.
- 2 Golf. ...
- 3 Dance. ...
- 4 Track & Field/Running. ...
- 5 Gymnastics. ...
- 6 Yoga. ...
- 7 Horseback Riding. ...
- 8 Swimming. ...
- Surfing 23.4% I mean, it's a sport that gives you huge arm muscles and a tan, and it requires you to have your shirt off all the time. ...
- Football 16.2% ...
- Swimming 12.5% ...
- Baseball 8.9% ...
- Tennis 8.4% ...
- Motor Sport 7.3. ...
- Rugby 6.4% ...
- Basketball 6.3%
What is the hottest sport a girl can play? ›
The results revealed that 57% of women found climbing attractive, making it the sexiest sport from a female perspective. In second place was extreme sports (56%), followed by football (52%), and hiking (51%).What is the #1 sport in America? ›
American football takes the crown when it comes to popularity, and this is the most-watched sport in the US.What sport pays the most for girls? ›
Tennis is one of the few sports in the world with equal prize money between the sexes (at least at Grand Slam level), which is part of the reason the sport has dominated Forbes' list of the highest paid female athletes over the past few years.What is the most popular high school sport in America? ›
Traditional football is by far the most popular sport among male high schoolers in the United States. In 2021/2022, around 974 thousand boys played 11-player football.What sports do high school girls play? ›
Here are a few of them:
- USA Today High School Sports.
- Running – I guess running is probably up there with the most easiest sports to play. ...
- Basketball – It is rewarding for anyone to grab the basketball and pass it through the basket. ...
- Volleyball – On the rise in popularity amongst many countries worldwide, it is of course volleyball.
Men's ice hockey has the easiest path with 11.2% going from high school to college. Meanwhile, 8.6% of draft-eligible baseball players are drafted while only 0.9% of women's basketball players are drafted professionally.What is the hardest sport to get into? ›
The 5 Hardest Sports to Make it to the Pros In (Statistically)
- Ice Hockey. ...
- Baseball. ...
- Soccer. ...
- Table Tennis/Ping Pong.
Hands down, one of the easiest and most rewarding sport to learn is Badminton. Badminton involves two or four players on either side of the court with a racquet each and one shuttle cock. Each side attempts to hit the shuttle over the net and make it land in the rival's court.
What sport takes the most skill? ›
Top Ranked Skill Sports.
|2||Swimming (200m Free)||86.9|
According to several studies about "science of muscles and movement" expert label boxing as the most demanding sport for an athlete.What is the most popular sport ever? ›
250 million people play the sport in 200 different countries, and there are around 3.5 billion fans worldwide. The next three most popular sports are field hockey, which has 2.2 billion fans globally, basketball, and cricket, which has 2.5 billion fans (2 billion).
It may be surprising to most people that swimming is number 1 in the list of the most mentally challenging sports in the world. Many professional swimmers fall into a 7-day self-sabotage cycle. This is a period where they may doubt themselves and grow continuous stress on themselves.