It seems like every softball player wants to play college softball. But is that even possible? Find out if your players can make their college softball dreams come true!
Playing on ESPN sounds very cool, but can your players do it? Discover what it takes to play college softball.
This time of year, playing college softball looks awesome. Heck, if you’re as good as the players you’ll see on TV the next couple of weeks, it is awesome! Playing for a big-time school, with a big-time budget in front of a big-time crowd – what big-time player wouldn’t want that?!
But how many players are really “big-time?” Most players are average. Very few among us will ever be “big-time”. So, the question is, can the majority of your softball players, the ones who are average, can they actually play college softball?
On ballfields across the country parents sign their kids up for softball, many with the goal of their little girl one day playing in college. Playing softball from a young age, simply to play in college is a very slippery slope. There are too many young softball players all wanting the same goal and not enough college softball spots, never mind how long the season is and how hard you’ve got to train to get there. So, can your players make it in college? Can they actually play for their dream school, and if not, then what?
To tackle that question, we’ve got to unravel the most common myths surrounding “playing college softball”. And trust me, these myths have become urban legend.
- Everybody Gets a Full Ride – Definitely not true! In the NCAA, softball is an equivalency sport, which means that unlike football and basketball and even volleyball, softball can award “partial scholarships” that total up to the limit set per Division within the NCAA. English version – let’s take DI. They’re allowed a maximum of 12 full rides if they are fully funded. So, they can choose to only give 12 players full ride scholarships, or more likely, they’ll split up of most of those 12 full rides and give some players 1/3 scholarship, others a 2/3 scholarship and a select few will get fulls. It’s up to each coach to decide how they split up their scholarship money, they just can’t give out more than 12 full rides worth of scholarship money per year.
NCAA DII softball programs (all 291 of them) also can give scholarships, but they’re only allowed to give a total of 7.2 scholarships. Which means that some players will get some scholarship money, while others won’t get any softball money at all. But, that doesn’t mean your players can’t get academic scholarships. Many DII players receive academic scholarships to help offset the costs. That’s why its super important for your players to keep their grades up!
NCAA DIII programs don’t give out athletic scholarships – in any sport! And yet, they have the most college softball programs with 415. These schools are traditionally academic-focused schools where students depend on their academic scholarships.
- I’m Gonna Play Division I – While every player might want to play for her favorite team, being good enough to play Division I is another matter. There are only 296 Division I college softball programs, which means slightly more than 6,000 players in the country play DI. And that number gets drastically smaller when you’re talking the Top programs. With 16 of the top teams in college softball headed to the DI Super Regionals, and roughly 20 players per team, that’s only 320 players good enough to play for these top programs! 320 out of the hundreds of thousands that start out on ballfields across the country! Now imagine how good the players must be that make the starting lineup for these 16 schools, and you’re starting to see just how elite these players really are.
- If I Can’t Play DI, I Can’t Play College Softball – Totally not true! And that’s the great part. Just because your players may not be good enough to play Division I doesn’t mean they can’t play college softball. There are over 1,600 colleges with softball programs from 4-year schools to 2-year junior colleges, from NCAA schools to NAIA, and from Division I to Division III. Over 31,000 young women have the chance every year to play college softball. And more importantly, they have the chance to go to college, earn a degree and create a brighter future for themselves and their families!
The most important thing to remember in the whole “playing college softball” picture, is the word college. The opportunity to go to college and earn a degree while playing the sport that you love is something that very few people get to do. Help your players find the right fit for them, whether it’s at a big-time school everybody’s heard of or at a small school tucked away in the woods.
If your players really want to play college softball, then there’s a program and a level for them. But always remember, they are in school, so grades come first!
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