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Scholarship limits per team

Depending on division, coaches are bound to a maximum number of scholarships they are allowed to hand out to their athletes. The athletic scholarship cap is set by the respective governing body, such as NCAA, NAIA or NJCAA and athletic departments need to make sure they don't award more scholarship money than what they are allowed to.
It is important to understand that while the scholarship limits below are the maximum amount permissible, a school may decide to allocate a coach less budget, for reasons such as budget constraints or a newly started team, which needs to establish itself first.
A team, which has the full amount of scholarship money to spend is called a “fully-funded” program. A team, which works with a smaller budget than peer schools, is called “partially funded”.

NCAA I9.9-

HCheadcount sport: the scholarship limit is absolute and the number of total athletes on a scholarship limited to the maximum number of scholarships.
If basketball is not a HC sport, it is an equivalency sport in scholarship terms, meaning the coach is free to award available funds to any number of athlete, up to the maximum limit.

NCAA D3 and NJCAA D3 teams dont award athletic scholarships to athletes, but students are able to receive other types of financial aid, such as academic scholarships.

College recruiting video

Your recruiting video is a really important element of your recruiting profile. Statistics, results and personal bests are extremely relevant, but at the end of the day, no coach is able to evaluate your true skill set and development potential without seeing you either in person or a highlight reel.

There are a number of things that you need to pay attention to when putting together your recruiting video for an individual sport, such as :

  • Include practice footage, showing your technical skill set
  • Game, race or tournament footage
  • Stable camera position (use a tripod)
  • Acceptable video quality & resolution (your mobile phone won't do it)

But you should also consider the following:

  • Include a title page (full name, recruiting year)
  • Include contact details (email or phone number)
  • Optional: highlight some more of your achievements (GPA, SAT/ACT, athletic results)
  • Optional: brief intro (5-10 seconds) introducing yourself to coaches
Recruiting Advice

Make an effort in putting together a strong highlight reel. The time invested by you (and/or a recruiting service) will greatly impact the outcome of your appearance. E.g. It takes 100% effort in a race, game, tournament or practice for the footage to be usable.

What kind of college team & university are you looking for?

This is one of the most important steps of your recruiting process. A reality check to make sure you head into the recruiting process well-prepared and with the right mindset.


First off and considering you are a prospective student athlete, it requires you to have one very important conversation with your coach, parents or recruiting consultant:

How strong an athlete am I right now and how strong an athlete will I be a few weeks, months, years from now – once I intend to get recruited?

The answer you arrive at will greatly determine your recruiting process, as it's all about having the right expectations heading into researching schools and reaching out to coaches after that. If you are way off in assessing your athletic level, you will harm your recruiting process, as you are more likely to dismiss schools, which actually fit very well to you, while at the same time chasing teams you don't have a realistic chance at.


The same goes for your academic capabilities and goals. You might think that your cumulative high school GPA of 2.6 is unjust to your real academic level. You may very well be right, but you need a pretty good SAT/ACT score or other elements of your application to make an admissions officer agree with you on that one.

Your personality & financials

What kind of person are you and what kind of school are you looking for? Small or big school? In a large city or in a suburban area? State school or private? In-state or out-of-state? Got a big budget or small budget to spend?

Your goals

What are your goals with regards to your sport involvement? Are you one of the few with a realistic shot of making a living with your sport? If not, how big a part should college be during your time in college? Keep in mind the various college divisions, as the student experience varies, due to more or fewer hours spent with team practice, competition and travels.

Where do you want to work and what are your goals when you think of your future profession? Should the academic environment be very challenging or rather a walk-in-the-park? Are you planning on moving on to grad school after graduation or most likely done with school?

As a student athlete, you are by definition a student first and foremost, but the experience can be way different depending on the school, recruiting you. Do you want your focus to be on school mainly or are you ready to invest a lot of your “free time” in athletics? Those are no easy questions to answer, but you need to get started in order to put together a good list of schools you are interested in:

Your longlist should include 2 types of schools: Some schools you would love to go to, but you know they will be a stretch. And schools, which fit perfectly to you and you could totally see yourself studying there.

Researching schools

Perhaps it's an easy one for you: you want to attend the alma mater of your parents. Usually it's not that simple for a lot of athletes. Therefore, you need to analyze your thoughts on the above (your expectations, goals, dreams) and start figuring out which schools would fit to you.

There are different ways to go about this task, but one thing is certain: you will have to spend a considerable amount of time checking out schools' websites and their athletic departments' websites. Before getting lost on each and every single page though, it's a smart thing to start narrowing down your search with the help of a university database, combining academics and athletics:

MacBookSmarthlete - Your Recruiting Process on Smarthlete
IphoneSmarthlete - Your Recruiting Process on Smarthlete
College Pipe Features

University Database

With a College Pipe profile, you can pick your sport and see all available schools in any of the major college divisions!

Contact college coaches

Once your recruiting profile is done and you are happy with your list of colleges to reach out to, it's time to get started.

You may have been contacted by coaches already and that's a great sign, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out to college coaches on your own as well. You want to be in the driver's seat and doing nothing at all, may only work for the very best; but even then, your dream school may not have reached out to you yet ...

Contacting college coaches is too important a task to mess it up: talk to your parents or your recruiting service when it comes to the first message you would like to send to a coach. Here are a few things which need to be in place for you to send off the first message:

  • Address the coach (correctly)
  • Polite and friendly tone
  • Message to the point (including the most relevant information)
  • Include contact details (online recruiting profile, email, phone)
  • No spelling or grammar mistakes
Recruiting Advice

You need an email account, which you check regularly. Don't miss an email, which a coach may send to you in the future. Insider tip: All messages which coaches send to your College Pipe Recruiting Profile are also delivered to your email inbox.

Next Read

Read up on How To Get Recruited, when to get started (Recruiting Timeline) or research schools in the various college divisions below: