How Many D1 Scholarships for Basketball?

Basketball is one of the most popular college sports in the United States. Aspiring players work hard perfecting their game with hopes of one day playing at the Division 1 (D1) level. With over 350 D1 men’s basketball programs across 32 conferences, the competition for roster spots and the coveted full-ride athletic scholarship is fierce.

Number of NCAA Athletic Scholarships by Sport

The NCAA sets limits on the total number of athletic scholarships that D1 basketball programs can award. Currently, men’s basketball teams can allocate up to 13 full scholarships while women’s teams are capped at 15. These scholarships are renewable each year at the coach’s discretion.

Unlike football which gets 85 scholarships, basketball scholarships must be divided up among eligible student-athletes. Coaches may decide to split scholarships to recruit more players – awarding partial scholarships equating to a full 13 (men) or 15 (women). This allows for larger rosters and more flexibility based on how players evolve and perform over time. Injury or transfer can open up more playing time and opportunities for others. There is less certainty in how minutes and roles Are Basketball Games unfold compared to the etched-in-stone starting lineups of football.

NAIA Athletic Scholarships (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)

NAIA Athletic Scholarships

The NAIA also offers basketball scholarships with slightly different rules. NAIA D1 schools get 16 scholarships for men’s teams and 16 for women’s. NAIA D2 gets 10 for men and 10 for women. These allotments make NAIA an attractive path for many prospects.

Men’s Basketball Recruiting 101

Recruiting is vital for all college basketball programs. Coaches invest significant time and resources scoping tournaments, attending high school and AAU games, and hosting elite prospects on campus.

Their goal is to evaluate and rank talent across each recruiting class. Ultimately they want to secure verbal commitments from their top targets through scholarship offers.

Competition is most intense for 5-star and high 4-star recruits ranked inside the national Top 100. However, there are still over 4,000 D1 scholarships awarded annually to lesser known 3-star and 2-star players as well.

National Junior College Athletic Association Athletic Scholarships

National Junior College Athletic Association Athletic Scholarships

Junior colleges and community colleges can be a stepping stone for players needing added development before transitioning to a 4-year school. NJCAA D1 programs get up to 15 scholarships while D2 gets 10 and D3 gets zero.

Many NJCAA student-athletes go on to complete their college careers at NAIA or NCAA D2/D3 institutions. Some elite JUCO stars capture the attention of D1 coaches and transfer to that level.

Will attending big AAU or other tournaments help me get a basketball scholarship?

Yes! Competing on the travel circuit with reputable AAU teams or high profile events like the Nike Peach Jam gives added exposure. College coaches attend these tournaments specifically to evaluate prospective recruits.

Standout performances against elite competition can accelerate the recruiting process and scholarship offers for unsigned players. Under-the-radar prospects can play their way from obscurity onto a D1 coach’s radar through these events.

NCAA Basketball Scholarships by Division Level

There are over 350 D1 men’s college basketball teams which hand out approximately 4,550 total scholarships. The D1 women tally nearly 5,250 scholarships across over 340 programs.

At the D2 level, there are about 300 men’s teams granting around 3,900 scholarships. That same amount applies to over 300 women’s programs.

Division 3 does not permit athletic scholarships. But 75%+ of D3 student-athletes receive some form of academic or need-based financial assistance.

How to Get a Basketball Scholarship

How to Get a Basketball Scholarship

Earning any type of college scholarship starts with excelling both on the court and in the classroom. Coaches want well-rounded student-athletes who’ll positively represent their program.

Here are tips to get recruited:

  • Play for a reputable AAU or high school team that competes at elite events
  • Continuously hone fundamental skills like shooting, ball handling, rebounding
  • Develop high basketball IQ by studying film and learning from coaches
  • Take rigorous course loads and achieve solid GPAs and test scores
  • Create prospect profiles on recruiting sites to connect with college coaches
  • Send game film to college staff expressing specific interest in their program
  • Attend basketball camps & prospect events to gain maximum exposure

Bring 100% effort and positivity to every practice, workout, and game. Stay active on social media since coaches may evaluate character. Model strong leadership qualities, selflessness, and determination through adversity.

Odds of Getting a Basketball Scholarship

Several factors determine each prospect’s chances to be awarded a scholarship:

AAU/High School Team – Playing for a prominent program garners exposure. Coaches recruit nationally elite teams expecting multiple D1 players.

Athletic Measurables – Size, speed, vertical leap, wingspan and other traits contribute to “upside”. Measuring strongly boosts stock and scholarship potential.

Ranking/Exposure – 5-star elites have inherent advantage. But 3-stars can move up with big seasons after added exposure via travel circuit, camps, showcases.

Position – Pure point guards and versatile wings are coveted over one-dimensional scorers. Big men need legit size (6’10″+) and mobility to warrant high-major offers.

The odds increase substantially by working tirelessly to control the controllables: skills, IQ, academics, leadership intangibles.

Remove excuses through preparation and positive habits. Stay determined and success will come. Over 400 D1 programs means over 1,200 annual open scholarship spots at that level alone. Put yourself in position to earn one.

Playing College Basketball Without a Scholarship

Each year thousands of ambitious high school players walk-on to college teams without scholarship assurance. Oftentimes they are eventually awarded aid as coaches observe their abilities and fit within the program.

Others may play all 4 years without a scholarship. But the college basketball experience itself is invaluable. Walk-ons meaningful contribute during practices while proudly representing their schools.

Lesser Division levels like D2/D3/NAIA have more roster flexibility and opportunities for non-scholarship players. JUCOs also take walk-ons who can potentially earn scholarships and transfer to 4-years later.

Never underestimate the privilege of competing collegiately. Use it as motivation to outwork opponents by honing your craft daily. Let your character, resilience and work ethic stand out.25. Scholarship opportunities

Number of Men’s D1 Basketball Scholarships

There are over 4,500 D1 men’s basketball scholarships available across 32 conferences and 358 programs. The Power 5 conferences account for 230 of those D1 teams.

Here’s the breakdown of 2021-22 men’s basketball scholarships allotted per D1 conference:

Big 1210130
Big East11143
Big Ten14182
Other D12823,662
Total D13584,550

The SEC, Big Ten and ACC lead the high-major ranks with 14 scholarship teams each. The remaining 27 D1 conferences combined have 282 programs and 3,662 scholarships.

So competition is predictably most intense within the elite Power 5 leagues and consecutive national champion conferences like the Big East.

Getting a D1 Basketball Scholarship

Getting a D1 Basketball Scholarship

College hopefuls aspiring to secure one of those 4,500+ D1 men’s scholarships face fierce competition across every recruiting class. Simply playing on varsity or a reputable AAU team does not guarantee offers.

Prospects must set themselves apart from crowds through skill mastery, next-level work ethic, high character, and unwavering inner drive.

Measure athleticism early and often. Benchmark against the elite. Outwork opponents daily. Make sound training decisions by researching reputable skills coaches, training resources and methodology.

Study film religiously analysing offensive systems and defensive schemes. Expand basketball IQ through immersive education. Become a basketball junkie in the classroom dissecting X’s and O’s.

Perform big when the brightest lights are on. Dominate rival prospects. Shine at high profile events when college coaches are watching courtside.

Handle success and adversity with equal poise. Uphold exemplary character 24/7 on and away from the court. Stay active yet prudent on social media.

Prospects carrying a 5-star ranking or rated among the nation’s Top 100 secure D1 offers earliest. But make no mistake – collegiate opportunities exist for all ambitious players willing to work tirelessly towards the goal.

Let the vision of achieving that scholarship fuel competitive fire. Outprepare and outperform competitors possessing more accolades and natural talent. Emerge onto the national recruiting radar through consistent overachievement.

College coaches take notice of underdogs displaying the “it factor” via supreme confidence, mental toughness, high motor and relentless work ethic.

Do not allow region or situation to limit possibilities. Email and call college staff directly. Create recruiting profiles expressing specific program interests. Attend exposure events whenever possible paying own way if needed.

Set 2018-19 as the year for that breakthrough. Achieve mastery of foundational skills. Submit transcripts confirming classroom excellence. Make training, competing, learning and leading top priorities.

College coaches seek winners – prospects continuously doing whatever it takes. Make it happen through preparation and perseverance.

Number of Division 2 Men’s Basketball Scholarships

There are over 3,900 athletic scholarships available for men’s basketball players across more than 300 Division 2 schools. D2 serves as an appealing path offering strong competition levels along with educational opportunities.

Many D2 student-athletes receive partial athletic scholarships which cover a percentage of college costs. Coaches often divide the allotted 10 Scholarships for Basketball amongst top recruits who may sign National Letters of Intent. This allows coaches to build a deeper roster by offering smaller percentages of tuition, housing or academic fees to multiple players. While not a full-ride, these partial awards still significantly reduce the financial burden on athlete-students and their families compared to paying entirely out of pocket. It is a valuable opportunity to continue competing at a high academic and athletic level.

Meaning a program could have 12 players on partial scholarship combining to 10 full awards. This allows coaches to distribute aid across a wider talent pool.

The average D2 scholarship ranges from $5k-$15k annually covering tuition, room/board, books and fees. Academic aid and need-based grants can lower out-of-pocket costs as well.

Division 3 Men’s Basketball Scholarships

Division 3 Men’s Basketball Scholarships

Division 3 schools do not offer athletic scholarships. But over 75% of D3 student-athletes receive academic scholarships or need-based grants. Many are also awarded academic scholarships for their high school achievements.

So players with strong academic records can often attend D3 colleges at little to no cost without relying on basketball directly for financial aid.

D3 athletics promotes a well-rounded collegiate experience enabling athletes to place equal focus on sports and academics. While the competition level may not match upper NCAA divisions, D3 still breeds highly engaged campus environments and team camaraderie.

Over 200 D3 men’s basketball programs exist across 23 conferences. That equates to thousands of available roster spots for aspiring players each year.


there are over 4,000 full basketball scholarships available each year across all NCAA Division 1 men’s and women’s programs, demonstrating the high level of competition involved in earning one of these highly valued spots. With tens of thousands of talented players vying for a limited number of roster spots each season, those fortunate enough to land a D1 basketball scholarship have achieved an impressive goal that will open many doors for their academic and athletic future development.

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