(From Long Island Business News Article) Parents who believe their child has a chance at obtaining an athletic scholarship often invest heavily in development programs. “They’re hiring strength coaches and pitching coaches,” Collins said, “all for the possibility of getting a scholarship.”
College athletic coaches determine how to distribute scholarship funds, said Jackie Nealon, vice president of enrollment services at the New York Institute of Technology, whose main campus is in Old Westbury. “Awards can range from a couple of thousand dollars up to a full scholarship,” including room and board, especially important in this economy where attending college may be unaffordable otherwise.
NYIT is in the NCAA’s Division I for baseball and Division II for other sports, which include lacrosse, volleyball, soccer, and track and field. For the 2008-09 school year, NYIT allotted $2 million of its overall $30 million financial aid budget to athletic scholarships. There are 184 students that receive athletic scholarships.
To boost their child’s chances of snagging a scholarship, some parents turn to online sports recruiting services. Mike Lancaster, owner and manager of Athletic Scholarships Sports Recruiting Services, based in Monterey, Calif., said his company works with 1,000 schools and 500 athletes per year. The firm helps the family prepare student profiles and package applications, which can be submitted to every head coach in the student-athlete’s sport. Lancaster said 85 percent of the students who use the service receive an athletic scholarship of some denomination.
Applications often include a link to a Web site where coaches can view videos of the player. “We encourage our clients to upload their videos to YouTube,” Lancaster said.
However, there are fewer scholarships in a sport like lacrosse than for football, which generates revenue for universities. In Division I men’s lacrosse, for instance, a maximum of 12.69 full scholarships are allowed per school, vs. 85 for football.
Collins said his school sometimes takes advantage of recruiting services to find students in remote states and other countries, since it’s often more affordable than traveling.
To receive an athletic scholarship, students must be “special athletes, or, especially for a Division II school, be able to package themselves as strong at both academics and sports,” Collins said. “A strong academic student is attractive to coaches, because the coach doesn’t have to offer as much money out of the athletic funds, since the student will probably get a partial academic scholarship as well.”
In Division II programs, sports are just one slice in the overall pie.
“For us, it’s not about getting a sponsorship from Coca-Cola,” Nealon said. “It’s about creating a robust student life experience for all our students.”