Athletic scholarship distribution varies by sport

UNA provides an estimated 112 athletic scholarships through the Department of Athletics, according to officials.

“We have around 112 equivalencies for the entire department,” said Mark Linder, UNA athletic director. “NCAA sets the maximum number of equivalencies/scholarships each sport can receive.”

Linder and Shoals Sports Talk Host and Student Worker for the Department of Athletics Parker Hendricks explained the mechanics of scholarship distribution.

Both sources confirm that the way scholarships are distributed and divided may change in the foreseeable future, due to the move to Division I.

“Since football is a male sport and is the biggest, it requires the most (scholarships),” Hendricks said.

“Football has 36 equivalencies-the NCAA Division II maximum for football,” Linder said.

According to Hendricks, many factors go into what determines how many scholarships a sport can get. These factors can range from the size of the sport, how much money the team brings in and gender of the team, Hendricks said.

“A lot goes in to how many scholarships a sport can get.” Hendricks said.

Ultimately, though, the decision reverts back to the NCAA and its regulations, according to Linder.

Golf is the sport that ranks the lowest number of equivalencies or scholarships, Linder said. The importance of the money used in athletic negotiations may change as the move to D-I occurs.

“I think scholarships are very important when it comes to recruiting because students want as much as they can get, especially when it comes to Division II where scholarships are limited,” Hendricks said.

According to Linder, the number of scholarships will increase in D-I from 112 to approximately 180. Hendricks believes that this could place an emphasis on the dollar amount of scholarships UNA gives.

“Maximum scholarships in D-II are different than D-I FCS,” Parker said. “So, we would have to raise more money to be competitive. It helps when you can offer more than others.”

The move to D-I will be beneficial in the fact that it will assist in recruiting more in-state student athletes, Linder said.

According to Linder, UNA demographics in recruiting show the majority of UNA’s scholarships go to U.S. citizens. Soccer, men’s tennis and women’s tennis are the sports that recruit internationally.

Linder also said the move to D-I could change the number of sports offered at UNA. Linder said the women’s sports of golf, indoor and outdoor track, sand volleyball and bowling are being considered as additions.