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Men’s College Track and Field Scholarship Standards

College track and field scholarships are offered at the NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 levels, as well as at NAIA schools and junior colleges. Getting a men’s track and field scholarship is an incredible opportunity for a student-athlete to finance their education while competing at the highest collegiate levels. Here, we explain the men’s track and field scholarship standards, including what track recruiting times college track coaches look for when awarding scholarships. Learn more on our NCAA track and field articles.

Insider tip: Most scholarships are one-year agreements that must be renewed each year. For most NCAA schools, a scholarship offer does not become official until a student-athlete signs the National Letter of Intent (NLI). Of course, before prospective recruits secure their roster spot and get an athletic scholarship, student-athletes first have to go through the track and field recruiting process

Men’s track and field scholarship limits by division level

There are more than 1,000 colleges and universities that provide men’s track and field scholarships. Are you trying to understand how college track and field works? Here’s a breakdown of the NCAA track and field scholarship limits, along with the NAIA and NJCAA division levels for both indoor track and field and outdoor track and field:

Men’s indoor track and field scholarship limits by division level

Division LevelNumber of TeamsTotal Athletes in DivisionAverage Team SizeScholarship Limits Per Team*Scholarship Limit Type**
NCAA D127010,1583812.6Equivalency
NCAA D21756,2033612.6Equivalency
NCAA D32969,65034N/A

Men’s outdoor track and field scholarship limits by division level

Division LevelNumber of TeamsTotal Athletes in DivisionAverage Team SizeScholarship Limits Per Team*Scholarship Limit Type**
NCAA D128911,1153912.6Equivalency
NCAA D22257,3903412.6Equivalency
NCAA D332510,19333N/A

*Scholarship limits per team: This number represents the maximum number of scholarships a program is allowed to award each year. Because not all programs are fully funded, the true number of men’s track and field scholarships available varies from college to college. Ivy League schools do not award athletic scholarships but provide financial aid through academic scholarships.

**Equivalency scholarship: Men’s track and field is an equivalency sport at both the NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 levels, which means coaches can divide scholarships up among several athletes as partial scholarships. For example, a D1 coach can split the 12.6 scholarships among 20 qualified athletes, offering a mix of partial and full scholarships depending on the recruit. The only limit is that the total of partial and full scholarships must be under the max scholarships per team limits.

The NCAA D1 Council adopted legislation that loosened regulation regarding need-based aid and academic scholarships that are not tied to athletic ability. Beginning August 1, 2020, track and field programs will not have any athletes’ need- and academic-based aid count against the mandated maximum athletic scholarship limit. Prior to this rule change, athletes had to meet certain criteria for their additional aid to not be counted against a team’s athletic scholarship limit.

Track and field 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 qualify for. With school and family budgets being impacted by the coronavirus, this rule change should allow track and field programs that have the funds to extend more money to families and athletes that need it—especially at pricier private colleges.

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Division 1 track and field recruiting standards

EventD1 TopD1 Low
Weight Throw72’8″42’11”
5K XC13:58.2015:52
3000m Steeple8:41.2412:19.90
High Jump7’2″6’5″
Pole Vault17’11”14’6″
Long Jump25’10”22’11”
Triple Jump52’10”44’11”
Shot Put66’3″52’6″

Find more Division 1 track and field standards here:

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Division 2 track and field recruiting standards

EventD2 TopD2 Low
Weight Throw64’10”51’9″
5K XC14:17.6615:36.68
3000m Steeple9:03.629:54.66
High Jump6’11”6’2″
Pole Vault16’8″14’4″
Long Jump24’6″21’8″
Triple Jump50’4″44’6″
Shot Put58’2″48’6″

Find more Division 2 track and field standards here:

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Division 3 track and field recruiting standards

EventD3 TopD3 Low
Weight Throw61’4″42’5″
5K XC14:56.8515:23.88
3000m Steeple9:16.0410:25.33
High Jump6’9″6’1″
Pole Vault15’9″13’6″
Long Jump23’8″22″
Triple Jump48’6″42’4″
Shot Put53’3″39’3″

Find more Division 3 track and field standards here:

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NAIA track and field scholarship standards

Weight Throw61’9″38’10”
5K XC15:04.9817:45.75
3000m Steeple9:21.9710:02.67
High Jump6’8″6′
Pole Vault15’8″13’6″
Long Jump23’6″20’1″
Triple Jump48’2″41’6″
Shot Put55’10”38’6″

Find more NAIA track and field standards here:

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College track and field recruiting standards

Track and field recruiting standards are the general baseline that student-athletes need to meet in order to get recruited by a track and field program. These standards vary depending on the level of competition you wish to pursue.

Recruiting standards also differ from college to college, even within each division level. A men’s sprinter in good academic standing with personal bests of 10.8 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 21.7 seconds in the 200m has a good chance of meeting the recruiting standards for the University of Pennsylvania but may need to improve their times to 10.5 and 21.5 seconds to land a roster spot at the University of Michigan—both D1 programs.

The best way to get a sense of each school’s individual recruiting standards is by asking their track and field coach, but recruits should also look at current rosters for individual stats or find a program’s specific recruiting standards on their website. The tables above provide general outlines for the times, heights or distances needed to meet the recruiting and scholarship standards for schools across all division levels. 

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Track and field walk-on standards

Recruited walk-on standards are the minimum times, heights or distances coaches expect an athlete to have on their teams. There are two types of walk-ons at the college level, recruited and non-recruited. Though they won’t receive athletic aid, a recruited walk-on is guaranteed a roster spot from a coach—as long as they can apply and get admitted to the school and maintain or improve their stats, too. A “non-recruited” walk-on may be asked by the coach to continue improving their times or marks and be invited to try out for the team once they apply and get admitted, but they are not guaranteed a roster spot.

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How do you get a track and field scholarship? 

Ultimately, it’s up to college coaches to award track and field scholarships, and depending on a coach’s own recruiting standards, their coaching philosophy and the amount of scholarship funds available, the amount of athletic scholarship money each recruit receives will vary. Prospective student-athletes should target the right division in order to maximize their scholarship potential. While a recruit might meet the minimum D1 track and field standards, they might make more of an impact at a D2 or NAIA school. As a result, they could receive more scholarship money at the D2 or NAIA levels while making a greater impact on those teams. Recruits will receive either a full-ride or partial scholarship offer.

Insider tip: Landing a roster spot doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get a scholarship. Recruited walk-ons are guaranteed a spot on the team but will not receive any form of athletic aid, at least during their freshman year. Non-recruited walk-ons won’t even get a guaranteed spot on the team—just an open invitation from the coach to try out when they get to campus. 

If an athlete has achieved what college track coaches look for in their recruiting times and marks, they must then meet the remaining eligibility requirements to enroll at the school of their choice. Academically, a recruit must complete 16 core courses, have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in those core courses and meet the minimums of the sliding scale in their combination of core course GPA and SAT/ACT test scores. Recruits must also maintain their amateurism by not taking any compensation that exceeds actual and necessary expenses. This includes accepting payment for media appearances, endorsing commercial products or accepting prize money beyond actual and necessary expenses. 

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How do colleges use track and field scholarships?

Men’s track and field is an equivalency sport at the collegiate level, which means that coaches divide their allotted number of scholarships per team among any number of athletes. For example, Division 1 coaches can award a limit of 12.6 total scholarships across their rosters each season. An average D1 track and field team has 34 athletes on its roster. For a team that is right on the national average, a coach might decide to award: 

Besides looking at an athlete’s ability to improve in their discipline and points potential at the conference, regional and national meets, coaches will also consider whether a potential recruit can meet the academic requirements for admission and their capacity to remain academically eligible once in school and graduate within a certain time-frame. 

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How do college coaches decide which recruits will get a scholarship?

Coaches also tend to give athletic scholarships based on a recruit’s performance in individual or multiple events:

High school recruits can pursue college track and field scholarship opportunities at the NCAA D1 and D2, NAIA and junior college levels. The number of scholarships available at any given school depends on how many scholarships the coach has committed to the current roster, whether they have a fully-funded or partially-funded athletics program, and how the coach likes to utilize or disperse their scholarship money, along with several other factors.

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