Updated: Mar 25, 2019
Your Chances are Much Better than You've been Told
Across the country, covering all levels, there are nearly 1,700 schools offering softball. Of those 1,700 schools, approximately 1,250 are offering scholarship money.
In 2017-2018, statistics reveal that the average cost to attend a private college approached nearly $35,000 per year, nearly 10,000 yearly for a public school, and approximately $25,000 for out-of-state residents attending public schools.
The bottom line – a college degree is expensive.
Here’s the breakdown for how softball scholarships are distributed among players for the different levels of play for fully-funded institutions:
NCAA DI: 12
NCAA DII: 7.2
NJCAA (DI): 24
NCAA DIII: 0
These scholarships are typically divided unequally among individuals on a roster. A higher percentage of the money is given to athletes who can potentially have a greater impact on the program – i.e. pitchers.
The average roster size for the top teams in the country for DI is between 15-19 players. Programs may carry as many as 25.
Statistics show that less than 10% of those who participate in high school softball will play softball in college. Likewise, of that number, only around 1% will play DI.
This statistic however is misleading and discouraging.
The fact is – if you want to play college softball – AND here’s the important point – you’re open minded about where you play – then, there’s a place for everyone.
Yes, you read that correctly. Everyone who wants to play college softball – CAN – If they are willing to go where the opportunity exists.
Many years ago, I was working a clinic with Larry Ray, former assistant coach at the University of Arizona. A talented young girl approached Coach Ray during a break and told him she wanted to play for the Arizona Wildcats. Here’s how the conversation went:
Athlete: Hi, thank you for being here, I want to play at Arizona.
Coach Ray: Okay, if you don’t mind, can I ask you a few questions to help you create a plan for yourself?
Athlete: (All Smiles)
Coach Ray: Are you the best player on your team?
Coach Ray: That’s great. Are you the best player in your county?
Athlete: (Less Sure) Probably.
Coach Ray: Okay, great. Are you the best player in your region?
Athlete: One of…
Coach Ray: The best player in your state?
Athlete: Probably not.
Coach Ray: Are you one of the top five-ten athletes at your position in the country?
Coach Ray: Listen, you can play college softball, somewhere. However, it might not be at Arizona because we typically get a top ten player at her position in the country each year. That’s just who we recruit to compete in our league.
Athlete: (Visibly Dejected)
Coach Ray: Hey, you’re a good player – and I believe you can play somewhere. Just where that is, I don’t know, but don’t be discouraged and give up just because you can’t play at Arizona. Good softball is being played at lots of different schools and many different levels.
Athlete: (Smiling again) Thank you!
That particular athlete went on to a really nice career for a DII school, where she was a four year starter playing on a partial scholarship with added academic money. She left with a four-year degree debt-free.
This athlete is typical of many athletes I encounter. They see the best teams on ESPN each week and they fall in love with the idea of playing at one of those big schools. I don’t blame them. There are many things to be attracted to from the coaches, the available resources, the travel – heck, just being on ESPN!
However, there are amazing experiences to be had at schools that are far less visible than the ones everyone wants to go to.
In summary, there are opportunities for anyone who wants to play competitive softball beyond high school. Athletic money is available at most schools. Even more importantly, there is academic money. A good student who scores well on testing becomes a more attractive athlete for coaches, as this type of athlete allows coaches more flexibility with their total scholarship allotment.
Don’t be discouraged when you hear that less than 10% of softball players play in college. Be encouraged that there’s a place for 100% who want to play!
You'll have to be proactive in your pursuit to play college softball - but if you want to play, there will be an opportunity to do so.
Be proactive at a Jerrad Hardin Camp with only 80 Total Participants and a minimum of 12 college coaches at every event! Don’t miss your best chance this summer to improve your skills and be noticed. See our schedule here: www.jerradhardin.com