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by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

What makes a good scholarship offer or deal?

The answer to that question will be as many and wide ranging as there are college baseball players. Let's take a look at a few key items and help you make the best informed choice.

For the purpose of this article we will deal with NCAA Division 1 recruiting only.

It is important to keep in mind that a Division college baseball coach is only allowed 11.7 scholarships to work with. In some cases an individual college will choose not to fund all 11.7 scholarships. (I am aware of some D1 schools that have as few as 4 or 5 funded scholarships).

A coach will try to get the "most bang for his buck", when recruiting your son. Don't take this personally -- it is the nature of the business.

Recruiting for a high school player is exciting, nerve-racking, peer pressure filled, tedious, sometime scary and usually the "roller coaster ride" of a player's (and families) emotional life. But it beats the alternative -- which is not being recruited at all.

When coaches come calling, it is like a courtship. They call, they send you notes and possibly invite you for a visit. They want you to choose their school over all others and will try to impress you, sometimes promising things they are not able to deliver. They may also, at this time, attempt to impress your parents, seeking their blessings and support for the "marriage" between you and their school.

Most school's scholarship money goes to players who fill the "up the middle" positions. Pitchers, catcher, shortstop, second base and center field.

It is generally acknowledged that a 50% offer is "a good offer." The important question becomes -- 50% of what? Is it 50% or 30% or 10% of full tuition, books, room & board, student fees, etc.? Or is it a percentage of tuition only? It is important to ask questions and understand fully what is being offered.

In many cases a coach will offer a specific dollar amount of assistance. For example a school may offer $5,000.

In either case it becomes a matter of weighing the offer from one school against another.
For example if a student-athlete is offered 50% at a school where the total yearly costs are $18,000, that leaves a family $9,000 per year PLUS the usual incidental expenses.

Now compare an offer from another school with a yearly cost of $9,000 and your son has been offered $5000 in aid. This leaves a cost of $4,000 to the family, plus incidentals.

Many times a coach will offer "books and board" or even just "books." Be honest and up front with the coaches. Tell them what you will need from them in order for your son to play at their school. This will take some planning and economic thought on the families part.

Ask the question .... "How much can we afford, per year, for our son's college education?" This would be the same question that a family would ask if their child were not an athlete.

When it comes time to negotiate, listen to exactly what the coach offers. Then either the player or the parent should restate the proposal as you understand it, ask for any clarifications.

When the offer is not quite what you think it should be or enough to allow the student-athlete to go to that school, discuss it with the coach.

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