Thar’s money on them thar fields (or not) . . . .
I can’t count the number of times that I have heard players (and their parents) talk about how hard they are working in the hopes of securing a college lacrosse scholarship. The subject often comes up at the end of a season, after a player has done well in his varsity (or sometimes JV) season, and plans are underway to select “the right camp” in an effort to increase college exposure.
Well, let’s look at the numbers and see what’s available.
We should start with the premise that the potential player is athletic and accomplished and among the best on his team and well respected within his league and Section.
The NCAA allows a maximum of 12.6 full scholarships per team at any one time. That’s 12.6 for the whole team (freshman year through senior). Making the math simple, that would mean that a “fully funded” Division I team would have about 3 full scholarships (maximum) for each recruiting class.
To be realistic, however, it should be noted that most Division I teams are not fully funded, meaning that they do not offer the full 12.6 scholarships. It should also be noted that most scholarship offers are not “full rides”, but are partial scholarships, allowing for more team members to get “some” athletic aid if warranted.
Back to the math . . .
Laxpower.com lists 56 Division I schools playing lacrosse. Seven schools are in the Ivy League (which do not allow athletic scholarships), which leaves us with 49 teams that could offer about 3 scholarships to recruits.
Based on our “simple math” we could conclude that there would be less than 147 scholarships available to a recruiting class in the Division I in a given year.
At the Division II level, the NCAA allows 10.8 scholarships per team and Laxpower lists 33 teams playing. Using the same math, there would be less than 83 scholarships available for the Division II recruiting class.
Division III and club teams are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships.
Now, let’s look at the “player pool”.
Laxpower lists 2,305 schools playing high school lacrosse. If we conservatively estimate 8 seniors on each team, that would mean that 18,400 players might be interested in playing at the college level.
If the top 2 percent of those seniors are looking for a scholarship that would mean that almost 370 players are competing for 147 D-I and 83 D-II slots.
In reality, those top 2 percent (and perhaps a few more) are splitting partial scholarships. However, that leaves more than 18,000 potential recruits who are not getting any athletic money. (Incidentally, if each of the 227 non-club teams is looking for 10 recruits per year, there would be about 2,227 lacrosse positions available in a recruiting year, so making the team would be an accomplishment.)
Thinking about going after a college lacrosse scholarship? Are you in the top two percent of your team, league and section? Perhaps you should work on your grades and look for an academic scholarship. They are “easier” to get, but that math lesson is for another day.
Coach Wilson can be reached at