Scoring a scholarship may require more than an ability to score goals

If you’re a high-school-age men’s lacrosse player and just beginning the recruiting process, you may have a lot of questions. So, to help you get your recruiting rolling, check out this list of some of the important things you need to know about recruiting for men’s lacrosse.

Men’s Lacrosse Is An Equivalency Sport

Unlike sports such as football or basketball, the NCAA considers men’s lacrosse an equivalency sport. That means, instead of each team awarding a certain number of full scholarships each year, an equivalency sport such as lacrosse has a limited amount of scholarship money to be awarded equivalent to a set number of scholarships.

For example, though there are 75 NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse teams, they’re each limited to 12.6 scholarships per year. And, if a coach were to divide those 12.6 scholarships evenly among an average roster of 48 players, that means every player could have a partial scholarship covering about 26% of their college tuition. If the top six players on the team receive partial scholarships covering 50% of their tuition, then the pie is sliced even smaller for the remaining 42 players. And that example assumes that the lacrosse team is fully funded. If it’s not fully funded, that means some programs may have less scholarship money to award. Add it all up and…

Full-Ride Lacrosse Scholarships Are Exceedingly Rare

Men’s lacrosse is an equivalency sport because it doesn’t generate revenue for schools like football or basketball. Therefore, DI lacrosse programs are allotted fewer funds for only 12.6 scholarships per team. It’s up to each coach to divide that money to best suit their team’s needs each season. Far more often than not, rather than allotting the bulk of their scholarship money to just a few players, most men’s lacrosse coaches will try to stretch their scholarships to benefit as many athletes as possible.

Note that the 12.6 scholarships per team are for NCAA Division I schools. For DII schools, the limit is 10.8 scholarships per team for an average roster of 40 players. And, while a total of 315 NCAA III schools offer men’s lacrosse with an average roster of 34 players, DIII schools don’t offer any athletic scholarships. All of that means…

Academics Are Important

As the best-case scenario is often a partial lacrosse scholarship, many coaches can help you put together a package of academic or need-based scholarships to help defray more of your college costs. However, to earn an academic scholarship, you obviously need to keep your grades as high as possible. That means, maintaining a high GPA, ensuring you take the core high school courses to be NCAA-eligible and to qualify for admission to colleges, and scoring well on standardized entrance exams.

It’s important to note that, though DIII schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, 82% of DIII athletes receive some form of financial aid whether it’s an academic scholarship, grant, or another form of aid. In fact, many DIII academic scholarship packages can cover more college expenses than partial lacrosse scholarships at DI or DII schools. Put it all together and by keeping your grades high, you give yourself more scholarship options and, in the eyes of coaches trying to stretch their scholarship dollars, you make yourself more “recruitable.”

Making A College Lacrosse Team Is Tough

In 2020, there were slightly more than 121,000 male high school lacrosse players. However, among all NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA, there were roughly 16,000 players competing in college. This means only 13.5% of all high school players were able to compete at the collegiate level. If you look at NCAA DI men’s lacrosse, only 2.9% of high school players were competing for a DI school. Overall, the odds of making a DI roster were roughly 35 to 1, and the odds of making any college roster, scholarship or no scholarship, were about 7 to 1. That’s why it’s important to…

Consider All Your Options

Before you enter into the college lacrosse recruiting process, honestly assess your talent and abilities. Plan your initial target school list where you might find the best fit. Then, consider all your options at every level. Be open-minded and remember that a partial lacrosse scholarship at a large, public DI school may still ultimately be more expensive than a larger academic package at a DIII school. Remember to consider not just the scholarship opportunities, but also the cost of each school. Make sure you get the package that’s the best fit for you and your family.

One other important option to consider is a junior college lacrosse program. Junior colleges offer great opportunities for student-athletes who may need to get their grades up while also proving that they can compete, athletically and academically, at larger, four-year schools. Plus, while the average roster of a junior college lacrosse team is 22, each program can offer the equivalent of 20 scholarships. Given the lower tuition costs generally associated with JUCOs, a junior college is a viable option for many high school lacrosse players to compete at the next level while also having their expenses covered.

While this isn’t everything you need to know about men’s lacrosse scholarships, knowing these facts can give you a head start on your own recruiting process. But knowing what you need to know and actually earning a scholarship are both up to you. So keep working on your game, keep your grades up, do your research, and know all your options so you can find the school – and the lacrosse program – that offers the best fit for you.

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