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College : : Story
Be Careful with Scholarships from ‘Outside Sources’
Rick Allen        
Published: Monday, April 26, 2010

The end of the school year will be arriving soon, bringing with it graduations and award ceremonies where many local scholarships will be awarded to seniors to help pay for their college education. For those athletes who will be playing baseball (or any other sport) at an NCAA Division I or II university, it will be important to remember some key points if they receive one of these scholarships from their high school, local civic club, parent’s employer, or other organization. Local organizations providing these scholarships should also keep these key points in mind.

The NCAA considers any financial aid for an athlete that comes from a source other than their family, or the college or university they are attending, to be “aid from outside sources.” This “aid from outside sources” is classified into three categories:

1. No relationship to athletics ability. A scholarship program that requests or encourages an applicant to include their athletic participation or achievements as part of the application process cannot be classified in this category. The organization that awards the scholarship may be asked to confirm that it did not consider athletics participation or achievements in selecting the athlete and must not restrict the athlete’s choice of college institution.

2. Athletics Participation not Major Criterion. Scholarships fit in this category if athletics participation or achievements are one of the criteria considered but are not the major criteria for awarding the scholarship. Organizations awarding scholarships in this category are strongly encouraged to provide written notification of the award to the financial aid office of the college that the athlete will be attending.

3. Athletics Participation as a Major Criterion. Scholarships are classified in this category if the athlete’s athletics participation and achievements are the major criteria for awarding the scholarship. In fact, if applicants or nominees are required to be an athlete in order to be considered for a scholarship, then that scholarship will automatically be considered to be in this category. Furthermore, if the recipient of a scholarship from this category was recruited by the college they will be attending, the recipient will be considered a “counter” for financial aid purposes and the value of the scholarship will be counted toward team financial aid limits as if it were an athletic scholarship awarded by the college. Scholarships in this category should be sent to the financial aid office of the college the recipient will be attending so that the aid will be properly tracked for NCAA limits.

Athletes attending an NCAA Division I or II university will likely be asked by their athletic department to indicate on a form whether they are the recipient of an outside award. In addition, the awarding organization may be asked to provide a copy of their application or nomination form and a list of criteria for the scholarship.

If you have questions about outside awards, or other questions about athletic scholarships, contact Rick Allen at 918-994-7271 or at rick@informedathlete.com. You can also subscribe to the Informed Athlete monthly newsletter at www.informedathlete.com, or join the Informed Athlete Facebook fan page.