The NCAA Final Four can give the NBA Finals a run for its money, viewership-wise! While the NBA Finals is still the most-watched basketball event worldwide, the NCAA Finals aren’t far behind.
Take the 2013 NBA Finals Game 7 (Heat vs. Spurs), for example, with its 26.3 million viewers on ABC compared to the NCAA Tournament title game (Louisville vs. Michigan) with 23.4 million viewers. That’s only a 3-million difference between a professional and an amateur game!
What makes college basketball so popular in the United States? For one thing, college basketball has a soul, so to speak, thanks to the enduring loyalty that the players, coaches, and fans feel for their respective teams. With the NBA, the players and coaches are in it for the money and, thus, changing teams is easy-peasy, in stark contrast with their counterparts in college teams.
For another thing, college basketball has a community behind it. We’re not just talking about the college students, alumni, and residents who troop to the games. We’re talking about a community that cares for the players and coaches, who pool their resources to ensure that scholarships, supplies, and other support forms are provided and promote the team’s interests. Can you say that about NBA fans?
Think about the challenge and community that you will enjoy if you become a basketball scholar in your dream school! You will not only get a full or partial ride on your bachelor’s degree, but you will also get to know inspirational and influential people. If you’re on the fence about becoming a varsity athlete in college, you shouldn’t be, partly because of basketball scholarships.
But let’s first discuss a few important things about basketball scholarships, particularly the difference between headcount and equivalency scholarships. The difference will likely influence your choice of school.
In NCAA Division I basketball, the type of scholarships given are headcount scholarships, also known as full-ride scholarships. The scholarship limit per team is 13, which means coaches and athletic directors can award 13 full-ride scholarships to 13 student-athletes. The scholarship funds cannot be distributed in other ways.
In NCAA II basketball and NAIA and JUCO levels, the scholarships offered are equivalency scholarships or partial ride scholarships. The coaches and athletic directors are provided with a certain amount of scholarship money to distribute to as many players as they see fit.
The number of scholarships is limited to 10 (NCAA), which should be distributed among players; while coaches and athletic directors have leeway on this matter, the usual partial ride is 25%. In NAIA Division I, the limit is 11 equivalency scholarships, while it’s 6 in NAIA Division II.
In NCAA III basketball, the schools aren’t allowed to give athletic scholarships, as is the case for the Ivy League schools. But they offer a combination of scholarships, grants, and financial aid to their student-athletes.
The bottom line: You should aim for a Division I school if you want a full ride! But there’s also pride in being a Division II student-athlete on a partial ride.
But it isn’t easy. The odds of a varsity high school player making it to a Division I school is 105:1, meaning that less than 1% of high school players will compete at this level. There’s also the matter of stringent requirements implemented by the NCAA, NAIA, and JUCO for student-athletes. Potential student-athletes may register with the NCAA Eligibility Center and meet academic requirements, including minimum GPA and ACT/SAT scores.
When you’ve decided to play varsity basketball in college and perhaps get your fair share of television glory, you should look into these schools’ basketball programs. These are NCAA Division I universities and, thus, there’s fierce competition for the slots and full-ride scholarships.
Use these page-jumps to explore the 15 Best Colleges for Basketball Scholarships:
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of California – Los Angeles
- Stanford University
- University of Michigan
- University of Florida
- University of Virginia
- Duke University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- University of Georgia
- University of Washington
- University of California – San Diego
- University of Illinois
- University of California – Irvine
- University of Maryland
- University of Texas at Austin
The Tar Heels men’s basketball team has won six NCAA Tournament Championships and numerous ACC conference tournament and regular-season championships. Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, Bob McAdoo, and James Worthy, four of ESPN’s top 74 players of all time, were alumni.
Such a winning record can be partly attributed to the outstanding basketball scholarship program at UNC! The most deserving players get a full-ride scholarship – truly, an irresistible offer considering that it’s an opportunity to play great basketball while earning a degree.
The Department of Athletics works with the Office of Student Scholarships and Aid to choose the recipients and allocate and administer the athletic scholarships. The university may cover all or part of the cost of attendance, including but not limited to tuition and mandatory fees, books and other related expenses, and room and board.
The Department of Athletics also works with the Educational Foundation (Rams Club) regarding student-athletes’ financial aid. The former proposes the athletic scholarship’s annual budget to the latter, which then undertakes various fundraising projects. The university follows NCAA rules about recruiting high school players and transfer students and their eligibility, academic performance, and scholarship coverage.
UNC’s Complete Carolina project, also under the Department of Athletics, provides financial aid for former students who wish to return to college athletics and finish their degree. The program’s recipients receive financial aid proportional to their previous athletic scholarship, including coverage for tuition and fees, textbooks, and room and board.
An in-state student on full-ride scholarship avail of about $25,400 per year, minimum. The amount is higher – about $52,400 per year – for an out-of-state student.
Email UNC at [email protected] or call them at 919-962-8396 for questions about athletic scholarships and other financial aid forms.
The Bruins men’s basketball team’s glory days from 1964 to 1975 may have passed – it’s recorded 11 NCAA titles, the most of any NCAA team, an undefeated record in four tournament years (1964, 1967, 1972, and 1973) – but it’s still among the best in the country! You will want to become a student-athlete here, especially with its excellent athletic scholarship program.
As a Division I university, UCLA can offer up to 13 full-ride scholarships. While seniority is an important factor in the selection process, first-year students also have a shot at a full ride too. You can submit a recruiting questionnaire so that the coaches can look at your athletic record and potential, perhaps look at your games.
You may also contact the basketball coach through email or phone. Your high school coach may also do it on your behalf.
Send an email to Shana Wilson, the Bruins Sr. Associate Athletic Director for Communications, at [email protected] or call her at 310-206-7870 if you have questions about the athletic program and its scholarships.
UCLA also has a robust academic scholarship and financial aid program administered by the Financial Aid and Scholarships office. Apply for one by completing the scholarship section on the admissions application form and submit either your FAFSA or Dream Act application. The last two applications are due by March 2 of the year you’re enrolling at the university.
Both scholarships and financial aid are awarded based on academic merit, financial need, and other specific requirements like ethnicity, area of interest, and residency. Examples include the Regents Scholarship, UCLA Alumni Scholarship, and Chancellor’s Blue and Gold Scholarship.
The Cardinal men’s basketball team has clinched one NCAA championship and 13 conference championships while their last NCAA Tournament appearance was 2014. But don’t dismiss Stanford because it’s among the best schools for student-athletes who want to combine world-class academics and championship sports!
Currently, Stanford offers more than 350 athletic-based scholarships, including to its men’s basketball team. These are 13 full-ride scholarships since Stanford is a Division I school.
These scholarships are intended to provide student-athletes with the support necessary to complete their bachelor’s degree within four years. As such, scholarships beyond the fourth year aren’t guaranteed without the Athletic Director’s prior written approval, a challenging task considering the limited number of scholarships.
The athletic scholarship will only cover tuition, compulsory fees (freshman, ASSU, telecommunication, documentation, and house fees), required textbooks, and standard room and board. The fund shouldn’t be used for other items, including late fees, health insurance, class supplies, interim housing fees, fraternity membership fees, lab fees damage charges, and cable television, among others.
Summer athletic scholarship is awarded, too, but on a limited basis. The Director of Athletics will determine the recipients based on the application requirements’ satisfactory compliance and available funding. The amount of summer aid isn’t greater than the value of the athletic scholarship provided in the preceding academic year unless otherwise approved by the Director of Athletics.
Student-athletes on an athletic scholarship may receive part of their aid as stipend checks issued every quarter and provided at the start of every quarter. The stipend is only issued when the scholarship amount is greater than the student account, such as when you’re living off-campus.
For your general questions, send an email to [email protected] or call 650-723-3058.
The Wolverine’s men’s basketball team has only won one NCAA championship. However, it still has an impressive record with its two NIT titles, two Big 10 Tournament wins, and 14 Big Ten Conference championships. The Division I school is a force to reckon with, and that’s why it’s on this list.
U-M also has 13 full-ride scholarships as its allocation. The head coach can award 13 full scholarships to 13 players or distribute full and partial scholarships to as many players as possible. The numbers game can be challenging because there are years when there are more than 13 players on the team, a mix of returning and incoming freshmen athletes.
Numbers notwithstanding, U-M awards its athletic scholarships based on academic achievement, athletic record and potential, and personal talents, among other factors. Keep in mind that athletic scholarships usually require a separate application process because of their special nature. The application requirements include minimum high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores and registration in the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Send an email to [email protected] or call 313-593-5300 (Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships) for more information on basketball scholarships.
U-M also offers several merit-based and need-based scholarships, some of which require a separate application while some only require the university admission application. Be sure to complete the scholarship section for automatic consideration of your application for university aid.
The Gators men’s basketball team continues to make consistent progress under the tutelage of Billy Donovan, head coach (1996-2014), and Mike White (2015-present). This is one of the basketball teams to watch out for, and, best of all, the University of Florida has a great athletic scholarship program.
Like its Division I counterparts, Florida offers 13 full-ride scholarships for its varsity basketball players. But these full scholarships can also be divided among its players as the head coach and other concerned officials see fit for the team.
Are you interested in becoming a Gator? Contact the University Athletic Association at (352) 375-4683 or write to them at P. O. Box 14485, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32604-2485. You may be instructed to submit your latest high school papers and videos of your games for validation.
The university also offers a wide range of merit-based and need-based aid for students. Most don’t require a separate application since the admission application serves the purpose, but some require a separate application. The scholarship programs are also categorized into in-state and out-of-state programs and incoming first-year students, continuing, and transfer students.
The in-state, merit-based scholarships include Presidential Scholarship ($5,000 per year), Presidential Gold Scholarship ($8,000 per year), and Presidential Platinum Scholarship ($10,000 per year). These are renewable per year for up to four years, and these come with academic requirements, including minimum GPA and number of credits.
Other scholarships include the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholarship, the Lombardi Scholarship, and the Stamps Scholarship. You can use the university’s online search engine for more information.
The Cavaliers men’s basketball team isn’t the winningest of champions since it only has one NCAA championship, three ACC Tournament titles, and two NIT titles. It lacks in titles. It more than makes up for the number of endowments available for its student-athletes!
These named scholarships, or endowments, are open to basketball players of the University of Virginia who meet their specific criteria. Only one player is chosen in most endowments and said player could be an in-state, an out-of-state, or an international student depending on the criteria.
- The Charlottesville Men’s Basketball Endowed Scholarship
- The Fralin Family Bicentennial Scholars Fund
- The Peter M. Grant II Family Bicentennial Scholars Fund
- The Leighton and Anne Rawles Huske Men’s Basketball Scholarship
- The William Jackey and Rose Marie Bravo Endowed Men’s Basketball Scholarship
- The Barry D. Koval Men’s Basketball Endowed Scholarship
- The Ledford Family Bicentennial Scholars Fund
- The Craig K. Littlepage Bicentennial Scholarship
- The Mizell Family Endowed Basketball Scholarship
- The Fred N. Newman Endowed Men’s Basketball Scholarship
- The Rivas Family Men’s Basketball Scholarship Endowment
- The Rogers Family Bicentennial Scholarship Fund
Of course, The university also offers basketball scholarships under NCAA rules.
There are also numerous SFS-administered scholarships listed on this page, said scholarships in the AccessUVA program. Incoming first-year students don’t have to file a separate application for most of these scholarships since every incoming student is automatically considered based on their merit, financial aid, and other factors. But the number and amount of scholarships vary depending on the earnings and number of applicants/recipients.
The Blue Devils men’s basketball team is the fourth winningest team with five NCAA championships, aside from 11 Championship Games appearances and 16 Final Four appearances. Such is its excellent program that there have been 71 players in the NBA Draft and 11 players named as the National Player of the Year.
But being a Duke player isn’t easy because of the competitive selection process, and it applies to scholarships, too. According to the policies for athletes on scholarships, every student-athlete must be able and willing to deliver on the required academic work and make appropriate contributions to the Duke community.
The head coach will inform the Office of Admissions about their proposed recipients of athletic scholarships. The Office of Admissions will notify the student-athletes about their admission into the scholarship program. The coach also receives a notification copy.
Emphasis must be made that Duke follows the relevant rules and regulations regarding student-athletes, from their admission and academic performance to their on-court and off-court actions. But Duke’s eligibility requirements and regulations are significantly more restrictive and competitive as those of the NCAA and ACC. As such, the university’s requirements and regulations will prevail in case of conflict.
Interested athletes can send an email to [email protected] or leave a message at (919) 684-6225 for more information about athletic scholarships. You may also get in touch with the Athletics Department, particularly Mike Krzyzewski, the head coach, at (919) 613-7500 or through email at [email protected]
Duke University also offers merit-based and need-based scholarships through its Undergraduate Financial Aid Office. Each student’s customized aid package usually consists of two forms: scholarship/grant and self-help (subsidized loans and work-study).
The Yellow Jacket men’s basketball team has made several NCAA tournament appearances and several Conference Tournament and Conference regular-season championships. Who knows – you may be part of the team that will win Georgia Tech its first-ever NCAA championship!
Georgia Tech’s athletic scholarship program enables student-athletes to combine their athletic potential with academic mastery at a distinguished university. This is also designed to provide coaches with an attractive scholarship package for recruiting elite student-athletes from across the country.
Indeed, Georgia Tech offers full-ride scholarships under NCAA rules! But keep in mind that these aren’t for easy picking as student-athletes are chosen based on their high school academic and athletic performance, personality, and fit with the team. Student-athletes on an athletic scholarship must also meet stringent requirements, including at least a 3.0 GPA.
New first-year students are only allowed to receive athletic scholarships for only eight terms of full-time enrollment. This translates to four years of eligibility, as stated in the NCAA eligibility rules. The scholarships are typically awarded during the fall and spring terms or two semesters in an academic year.
Note: The eligibility period for transfer students is determined on a case-to-case basis, usually depending on the number of credit hours allowed for transfer.
Visit the school’s official Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid page for more information about athletic and academic scholarships. You may also contact Josh Pastner, the basketball head coach, at 404-894-4424 or Todd Stansbury, the Director of Athletics, at 404.894.5411. You can also email them via the Staff Directory page.
The Bulldogs men’s basketball team may be overshadowed by its successful football program. Still, it has enjoyed its share of success, too, including four conference tournament championships and two conference regular-season titles. Plus, it has several alumni with notable NBA careers, including Dominique Wilkins, a Basketball Hall of Famer.
Of course, the university offers great athletic scholarships that attract the best high school players! The Athletic Association awards approximately 600 athletic scholarships, including NCAA-approved grants. While the actual amount and coverage differ, these scholarships typically cover the cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, textbooks, and room and board.
Private donations or endowments fund many of these scholarships. The Athletic Association also awards in-state and out-of-state cost of attendance, with the latter being higher in amount. Neither university funds nor state and federal revenues are used in funding the athletic scholarships. Every cent comes from alumni, friends, and other individuals who make generous donations to the scholarship fund.
The Athletic Association also has full control of each athlete’s scholarship amount, although NCAA rules and regulations are followed. For example, a student-athlete can have his entire textbook cost covered even if it exceeds the $800/year NCAA rule. The association may also pay more than the average rate of accommodations.
You can contact the Athletic Association by sending a formal letter to the University of Georgia Athletic Association, PO Box 1472, Athens, Georgia 30603, or call them at (706) 542-9036. You may also contact Tom Crean, the men’s basketball head coach, at 706-542-1432 or Joni Taylor, the women’s basketball head coach, at 706-542-1541 or email her [email protected].
The Huskies women’s basketball team is making its mark in the NCAA with its strong performances. Their men’s basketball counterpart, on the other hand, has several conference tournament and regular-season titles as well as NCAA Tournament appearances. No matter which team you will belong to, you will find a robust scholarship program.
Student-athletes on a scholarship are provided with their signed scholarship agreement, which states the percentage of grant-in-aid costs covered. These costs include tuition, required textbooks, and room and board.
Take note that under NCAA rules, athletic scholarships have to be evenly disbursed over three-quarters of the regular academic rate, when applicable. As such, you may receive a partial housing bill or partial tuition bill for every quarter, although it will depend on your scholarship terms.
An athletic scholarship can only be awarded for one academic year, maximum, and it must be renewed, decreased or increased, or canceled by July 1 each year. The Office of Student Financial Aid takes these actions, as needed, and notifies the concerned persons, including the student-athlete and head coach. Student-athletes whose scholarships weren’t renewed or reduced can appeal to the Athletic Financial Aid Committee.
Summer grants-in-aid and scholarships beyond the four-year athletic eligibility are considered on an application basis only. If you’re applying for any of these two scholarships, you have to file a Summer Athletic Aid application or a Post-Eligible Degree Completion Aid application.
Contact Robin Chang, the Associate Compliance Coordinator, at [email protected] or call at (206) 616-2808 for information about athletic scholarship requirements and compliance.
The Tritons women’s basketball program is successful, thanks to its five CCAA championships, among other achievements. Getting into the team is a challenge because of its rigorous admission process, including high academic standards and careful evaluation of game performance. Applicants must also follow the strict deadlines, usually November 30, for admission and scholarship with notifications sent out by the university by March 30 of the following year.
Interested high school students can call the athletic department at 858-534-4211 or send a letter to UC San Diego Intercollegiate Athletics, 9500 Gilman Drive, RIMAC 4th Floor, La Jolla, California 92093-0531.
Basketball scholarships are available to deserving students. But with a limited number of scholarships, it’s fierce competition for a full-ride although it’s possible to get one.
Student-athletes may look into other types of scholarships, such as the restricted and merit scholarships. The recipients of merit scholarships are chosen based on their academic achievement. The restricted scholarships have additional criteria aside from academic merits, such as demonstrated financial need, leadership, or field of interest.
In both types, supporting documentation is usually required. But personal and medical information is treated with the utmost confidentiality.
The Fighting Illini women’s basketball has achieved nearly as much as their male counterparts, thanks to their 1997 Big Ten championship and eight NCAA Tournament appearances. The men’s basketball team has 17 Big Ten championships and two Big Ten Tournament championships. Most, if not all, of their players, were in the university’s much-praised athletic scholarship program.
The grants-in-aid are welcome considering that the average full-time student’s cost of attendance is $42,783, and it includes tuition, fees, books, room and board, and other estimated expenses. While not all varsity Fighting Illini will get full scholarships, many will get partial scholarships that provide significant coverage.
The basketball head coach must comply with the specific scholarship allotment allowed by the NCAA. In this case, it’s 13 full scholarships for each of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the University of Illinois being a Division I school.
According to the school, the average male and female athletes receive nearly the same scholarship amount, proof that gender equality isn’t a big issue with the Fighting Illini. The male athletes receive about $30,100, while the female athletes receive about $30,556 or slightly above their male counterparts.
Do you have questions about admission and scholarships? Mail your letter to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 901 West Illinois Street, Urbana, Illinois 61801. You may also send an email to [email protected] or call 217-333-0302.
The Anteaters basketball programs enjoy moderate success with conference tournament and regular-season championships. Their players didn’t let the lack of funds prevent them from attending a top-notch university, too.
About three-quarters of enrolled students at UCI get financial aid, which can come from scholarships, grants, and work-study awards. Student-athletes can apply for financial aid, particularly athletic scholarships offered by the university, and subject to the NCAA rules and regulations. Basketball scholarships can be a full or partial ride, too, and the typically covered items include tuition, fees, books, and standard room and board.
The head coaches for the men’s and women’s programs also have a significant say about the scholarship recipients and amounts and the recruiting process. You can contact Russell Turner, head coach of the men’s program, at (949)824-3234 or email him at [email protected] for more information. For the women’s program, the contact person is Tamara Inoue, the head coach, at (949)824- 4547 or send an email to [email protected].
The school’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships gives merit-based and need-based scholarships and grants, as well as loans and work-study programs. Students can also apply for FAFSA. Nonetheless, the university expects the parents and students to contribute toward educational costs, as necessary.
The Terrapins women’s basketball team is among the strongest teams in the NCAA with one NCAA Tournament championship (2006) and several ACC and Big Ten championships, the most recent being 2020. This is a team that varsity players in high school will want to be part of!
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics manages the intercollegiate men’s and women’s basketball programs and their scholarship programs. Interested athletes must prepare themselves for the rigorous academic and athletic standards, from their admission into the program to their compliance as student-athletes. These standards include NCAA and Big Ten eligibility requirements aside from the university requirements, including the number of credits enrolled in, percentage of degree completion, and minimum GPA.
Full-time enrollment is a must for scholarship benefits. The university has a competition limit – only four competition seasons in five calendar years, which is counted from the first-time enrollment. The Department can make exceptions of Intercollegiate Athletics, but it’s relatively uncommon.
Get more information about athletes’ academic and athletic scholarships by calling the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at 301-314-7043. You may also contact Brenda Frese, the head coach, at 301-314-1747 or email her at [email protected]. The men’s head coach is Mark Turgeon with contact details as follows: call 301-314-7029 or email to [email protected].
The University of Texas at Austin offers generous athletic scholarships that may cover the full or partial cost of tuition and required fees, books, room and board, and miscellaneous expenses related to the cost of attendance. Every student-athlete has a unique scholarship agreement that specifies the items covered and the amount of coverage, among others. The amounts are guaranteed during the eligibility period, or the first four years of full-time enrollment, or until the student-athlete meets the undergraduate degree completion requirements, whichever comes first.
While an athletic scholarship can neither be reduced nor canceled for athletic reasons, it can be rendered, so in case the concerned student-athlete is deemed ineligible, among other reasons outlined in the NCAA guidelines and university handbook. The student-athlete can file an appeal through the Office of Student Financial Services.
Send an email to Texas One Stop at [email protected] or call them at (512) 232-6988 for more details on athletic scholarships.
Are you ready for the challenge of finding the best possible basketball scholarship for your unique needs? Be sure to read our other scholarship resources so you can increase your odds of getting into one of these world-class schools!