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What You Need to Know About Recruiting

First and foremost, understand that the college athletics recruiting process is arduous and very competitive. It is important not to get discouraged, however. With dedication, time and commitment to athletic and academic excellence, a high school athlete will have a shot at getting a scholarship to help pay for college.

What You Need to Know About Recruiting | ABC Athletic Recruiting

Two organizations offer scholarships for high school players - the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).


The NAIA has been around since 1937 and is comprised primarily of smaller schools. NAIA schools are great options for students who prefer the environment and atmosphere at a smaller school. Smaller schools can offer personal touches that large schools lack, and for some student athletes, this is an important quality. Although NAIA began with a focus on the sport of basketball, it added more sports in the 1950s and now represents 13 different sports. A program promoted by the NAIA highlights what they consider to be five core values: sportsmanship, responsibility, integrity, respect, and leadership. Not only do these qualities make for a great athlete, but they also make for a great citizen. NAIA has always had a commitment to social causes. They were the first organization to extend scholarships to women’s athletics and admit historically black colleges. Coaches at NAIA schools can contact high school athletes at any point in their high school career. The longer a student is in communication with a coach the better, as this builds rapport and increases the odds of landing a scholarship.

Schools in the NAIA offer scholarships totaling $450 million. These scholarships can either be offered to students in full, or as half or quarter awards. If a student athlete is interested in entering an NAIA school, they must check in with the NAIA Eligibility Center. This department is charged with determining the availability of a high school student to receive a scholarship from NAIA. Students must meet at least two out of three requirements: a minimum 18 ACT score or 860 SAT score, minimum overall 2.0 out of 4.0 GPA, and graduating in the top 50 percent of your class.


NCAA is larger and older than NAIA. It was established in 1906 with a focus on offering protection to college football players, but now represents 450,000 athletes across 23 sports. NCAA hosts 89 championships and offers a whopping $1.5 million in scholarships every year. Three divisions make up the NCAA and representatives ensure that the schools they represent include a variety of different students and are competing fairly.



  • Established in 1906

  • Focused on offering protection to college football players

  • Represents 450,000 athletes across 23 sports

  • Hosts 89 championships

  • $1.5 million in scholarships


  • Established in 1937

  • Focused primarily of smaller schools

  • Represents 60,000 student athletes across 13 sports

  • $450 million in scholarships

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