Understanding how scholarships are awarded can be very helpful throughout the recruiting process. Each coach has to work within the NCAA scholarship limit for his particular sport, division, and gender. For example, men’s NCAA Division I golf
programs are allowed to award a maximum of 4.5 full scholarships annually. This raises a number of relevant questions.

1. Does it make a difference if the student has in-state or out-of-state residency?

Yes, golf is an equivalency sport for NCAA purposes. In this case, each student-athlete’s countable athletic aid is divided by his actual cost of education to determine his scholarship percentage or equivalency. If the student-athlete has a higher cost of education (because he is from out of state) then his relative equivalency would be lower. This only applies to public universities that have different tuition rates based on residency. The total equivalencies for a team’s roster cannot exceed 4.5  in men’s NCAA Division I golf.

2. Do all men’s and Women's NCAA Division I golf programs award 4.5 scholarships annually?

No, just because they are allowed to award 4.5 scholarships doesn’t necessarily mean they are fully funded or able to offer scholarships. Some NCAA Division I programs, because of institutional philosophy or budget constraints, actually give little to no golf scholarships at all. This is a very good question to ask a coach early on in the recruiting process.

3. Are scholarships guaranteed for four years?

No, although coaches are allowed to award multi-year scholarships, they typically award scholarships for one year at a time. Generally, schools will renew (or even increase) a student-athlete’s scholarship as long as he is academically eligible, making satisfactory progress with his golf game, and following team rules. If a student-athlete’s scholarship is reduced or cancelled, he does have the right to appeal the decision to a university committee. In the recruiting process, coaches are now allowed to promise multi-year scholarships.

4. Is it true that student-athletes may give up a portion of their scholarships to help the coach recruit?

Yes, in some cases an existing collegiate player will relinquish some or all of his scholarship in order to help the team. In this scenario, the coach would then have additional scholarship money available to recruit and may therefore be able to sign a higher ranked player. Some of the nation’s elite junior players may be awarded full scholarships for their freshman years only and then be expected (or at least asked) to give up a portion of the full scholarship in subsequent years. This is not a common practice, but it does happen occasionally at the elite programs.

5. Do coaches award scholarships based on a percentage or on the actual dollar value?

The answer is both. In some cases a coach will offer a recruit a percentage of his/her actual cost of education. If that cost increases due to inflation, the same percentage will apply. Other coaches only award a specific dollar amount to a recruit, leaving him/her responsible to cover any differences or increases caused by inflation. Programs that are fully funded generally award scholarships on a percentage basis. Those that are not fully funded (especially for budgetary reasons) may elect to award a specific dollar amount only.

6. Do nonathletic scholarships count against a team’s NCAA limit?

I recommend that student-athletes apply for as many scholarships as possible. In some cases these scholarships will count against a team’s NCAA limit, and if the program is already at its maximum, the other scholarship will have to be declined or a reduction to the student-athlete’s athletic scholarship will have to be made. In a case where the program has not yet reached its maximum, a student-athlete would be allowed and encouraged to keep an outside scholarship even if it is countable against NCAA limits. Many outside scholarships are non-countable and do not affect a team’s limit. These are generally scholarships that are either available to all students or are not awarded by the institution. The NCAA and/or the school you are considering attending can tell you whether or not the scholarship is countable and whether or not you will be allowed to accept it. In no case may a player receive more scholarship money (from all sources) than his actual cost of education. Tuition, fees,
books, and room and board define the cost of a full scholarship under NCAA rules.

7. Are full scholarships common in the sport of golf?

For women’s NCAA Division I golf programs, a reasonable number of recruits are offered full scholarships. These programs are allowed to award annually a maximum of six (6) full scholarships to their entire team. With less demand for these scholarships and more money available to give, it is fairly common to see women’s DI programs award full scholarships. In men’s NCAA Division I golf, however, a very small number of players actually receive full scholarships. These are generally offered to the nation’s most elite junior players and those who are being heavily recruited. A scholarship in the 25-to-50 percent range is much more common in men’s golf.

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