You have received a softball scholarship. This is a great accomplishment and means you have done a lot of really good things to make this happen. You worked hard, played well, marketed yourself well, connected with a college coach and built a relationship that has you both excited about the future.
So far, so good…
Getting a scholarship is one thing, keeping it might be another.
Most athletic scholarships are set up on a year-by-year basis. There are some schools that offer multi-year scholarships but the truth is there are many ways out of the multi-year scholarship for both the player and the school.
But the moral to the story is a simple one, you worked hard to get a scholarship and now you need to work a whole lot harder to keep it.
So how can you lose your athletic scholarship?
If you become academically ineligible, you can lose your scholarship. Be sure you know the requirements and do the work. If you are an amazing player the school might keep you around and try to help you get your act together but for the most part, bad grades equal losing your scholarship.
If you commit serious misconduct you can lose your scholarship. Now this is a loaded possibility because what is serious misconduct at one school might be business as usual at another. What gets a softball player dismissed from her team might be the same thing that gets a star football player a slap on the wrist. This can include some things that most people think of as “college kid” stuff like underage drinking or skipping classes.
If you quit the team… well, duh. But wait not always that obvious. Not going to practice might be easily explained away with a real-world explanation but can also be interpreted as quitting the team.
So how can my scholarship be reduced or cancelled?
In addition to the areas we discussed earlier you need to also know:
If you perform below expectations your scholarship can be reduced. Not during the current year but it can be reduced for the next year. Each coach and each school has control of what they set up as their standards and failure to meet them can cost you.
If you perform below academic standards your scholarship can be reduced. Again, it is up to each coach and each school to set the standards. You might be eligible to compete but be below the team established standard. Again, the reduction can’t happen during the current year but it can impact your next academic year.
If you are a pain, if your coach thinks you have a poor attitude, if they think you are hard to work with, if they think you are a poor teammate. if you would rather drink beer than go to class. all of these things can lead to a reduction or loss of your scholarship.
If you get injured outside of team activity, you are putting your renewal at risk. For instance, let’s say you go skiing and tear up your knee or go skydiving and separate your shoulder.
The bottom line is simple. Schools and coaches get to make the rules. they get to decide the standards for awarding a scholarship and they get to set the standards for keeping it. Then make up your mind that you are going to meet those standards and then some.
Fair is the place where they hand out blue ribbons for the best pie or livestock!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.