What are the chances of getting a tennis scholarship? There are more than 9,000 men’s collegiate tennis players competing across all three NCAA division levels. Of these 9,000+ athletes, less than one percent of U.S. high school tennis players compete for an NCAA Division 1 program. Why is this percentage so small? This, in large part, can be attributed to international recruiting. College tennis has the highest percentage of international athletes competing in an NCAA sponsored sport. In 2017, 34.3 percent of men’s tennis players competing at the NCAA Division 1 level were international athletes.
What does this mean for recruits with their sights set on receiving an athletic scholarship? It means they need to be proactive during the college recruiting process and consistently communicate with coaches if they want to be noticed.
|Division Level||Number of Teams||Total Athletes in Division||Average Team Size||Scholarships Limit Per Team||Scholarship Limit Type|
*Scholarships Limit Per Team: This is a maximum limit that the NCAA places on the number of full-ride equivalent scholarships that a team can award. When an NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 tennis program is fully funded, college coaches have a maximum of 4.5 full-ride equivalent scholarships to award. While it is not impossible to receive a full-ride tennis scholarship, these are generally reserved for international athletes. Division 3 and Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships. Instead, recruits can look to academic scholarships for financial funding.
**Equivalency Scholarship: Equivalency scholarships allow college coaches the flexibility to divide up their scholarship budget however they see fit each year. This means fully funded NCAA Division 1 and 2 programs can take the 4.5 full-ride equivalent scholarships and divide the budget to award a partial scholarship to each athlete on the roster. College coaches can also choose to award larger scholarships to fewer roster holders, which would leave some athletes with no financial funding. Programs that aren’t fully funded have fewer than 4.5 equivalency scholarships.
The NCAA D1 Council adopted legislation that eased regulation regarding need-based aid and academic scholarships that are not tied to athletic ability. Starting August 1, 2020, teams in equivalency sports like men’s tennis will not have any athletes’ need- and academic-based aid count against a team’s maximum athletic scholarship limit. Before this rule change, athletes had to meet certain criteria for their additional aid to not be counted against the athletic scholarship limit.
Tennis teams will still have a maximum athletic scholarship cap, but student-athletes can seek to add as much need-based aid and academic scholarships as they can secure. This rule change should allow men’s tennis programs to extend more money to families and athletes that need it—especially at pricier schools with higher tuition.
In 2017, 34.3% of men’s tennis players competing at the NCAA Division 1 level were international athletes. Because collegiate tennis programs heavily recruit internationally, it’s no surprise that some college coaches reserve at least a portion of their scholarships budget for international recruits as an incentive to make the move to the U.S. But the reality is, regardless of whether a recruit is an international or American athlete, college coaches care most about playing level and academic record. College coaches want athletes who can immediately contribute to the team and can balance their athletic career while maintaining a strong academic record. For Division 1 programs, these athletes are often those labeled as Blue Chip players by TennisRecruiting.net.
Want to know how to get a tennis scholarship? The reality is, not every recruit will receive a scholarship, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still make the roster. Below we’ve outlined the four types of offers that college coaches can extend to a recruit.
Fully funded Division 1 men’s college tennis programs have a maximum limit of 4.5 full-ride scholarships per team. To award aid, college coaches divide up their scholarship budget however they feel it is necessary each recruiting season. Tennis programs that are not fully funded are faced with the challenge of dividing up an even smaller scholarship budget across both recruits and current roster holders.
While men’s college tennis scholarships are available at the Division 1 level, international recruits, which made up 34.3% of men’s NCAA Division 1 tennis athletes in 2017, are most likely to receive these top dollar scholarships. Providing financial funding is one of the tools that college coaches use when recruiting international athletes as an incentive to move to the U.S. to continue their education and tennis career. View Division 1 tennis programs.
NCAA Division 2 tennis programs are permitted to award a maximum of 4.5 full-ride equivalent scholarships per team. Division 2 tennis programs that are not fully funded face the same funding challenges as those at the Division 1 level, which makes it difficult to provide large Division 2 tennis scholarships to recruits.
NCAA Division 3 tennis programs are unable to offer athletic scholarships. To award recruits with financial funding, these schools award merit-based scholarships to student-athletes that meet the academic standards set in place by the institutions. It is not uncommon for a recruit to receive a Division 3 financial aid package that is larger than the athletic scholarships offered by Division 1 and 2 programs.
NAIA tennis programs can offer up to five full-ride equivalent scholarships per team, which is a slightly larger budget than NCAA Division 1 and 2 programs are given. Funding for tennis programs varies, which means some teams may have fewer than five NAIA tennis scholarships to offer.
Competing at an NJCAA institution provides student-athletes with the best chance of receiving an athletic scholarship. Fully funded NJCAA tennis programs generally have the budget to offer the entire tennis roster with financial funding to cover the cost of attending a junior college. If a recruit is planning to transfer to a four-year NCAA college, they need to keep in mind that the GPA and standardized test score requirement to transfer and tennis scholarships requirements might be stricter.
The NCAA has established a list of eligibility requirements that recruits must meet in order to compete for an NCAA program. These requirements help the NCAA to determine a recruit’s academics and amateurism status.
To be eligible to compete at an NCAA school, recruits must:
It’s important to remember that an NLI agreement will become invalid if the athlete fails to meet the NCAA eligibility center requirements upon graduating high school.
While you cannot directly apply for an athletic scholarship, recruits can build an athletic resume that can be shared with college coaches from programs on their target list of schools. Below is a list of steps to building a recruiting profile and getting exposure to college coaches.
Finding the right college fit with the greatest opportunity for an athletic scholarship can be tricky. To help recruits narrow the search, we’ve identified the best colleges for tennis at each NCAA division level and the NAIA. NCSA Power Rankings provide a list of the top schools that offer men’s tennis based on academics, cost, graduation rates and more.