Where to Find Basketball Scholarships

By Stacy Zeiger , last updated October 26, 2011

While talent may get a student accepted to a top basketball camp or college program, that acceptance does not always come with the funds to cover the cost of attending that elite college or training. Scholarships provide funding for basketball players based on talent, financial need and, sometimes, academic merit. Basketball scholarships come in two types: college scholarships and basketball camp or program scholarships.

College Scholarships

Division I and Division II schools offer athletic scholarships through the National Collegiate Athletic Association. For Division I programs, all basketball scholarships given out must be full-rides, not partial tuition scholarships, so these scholarships are typically reserved for the students with the most talent and greatest financial need. Division II schools break up their scholarship money into full and partial tuition scholarships, which may provide you with a better chance of earning a scholarship. If you attend a Division III school, you will not be able to obtain an athletic scholarship through the NCAA.

Instead of the NCAA, some schools participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) or National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). If you want to play basketball, but may not have the grades or talent required to play on a larger school team, looking at a smaller school may be an option. Consider the size and popularity of the basketball program. For someone who just wants to play basketball competitively, but does not care about the strength of the program, a school with a less popular basketball program may offer more scholarship opportunities.

If you are a basketball player who also has a strong academic record, you may be eligible for academic scholarships through scholar athlete programs. State high school athletic associations typically award scholarships to athletes who perform on the court and in the classroom. For example, the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Scholar-Athlete Award offers 32 $1,000 scholarships each year to students who have earned at least a 3.5 GPA and obtained a varsity letter in their sport, including basketball, before their senior year. Check with your state’s high school athletic director to see if you qualify for any academic scholarships.

Basketball Camp Scholarships

Basketball camps help students build their skills and work with some of the top coaches and players in the basketball industry. Multiple NBA teams hold basketball camps with their players and offer scholarships to help students participate. For example, the Boston Celtics provides scholarships for kids ages 8 through 17 to attend the Celtics Youth Basketball Camps. Participants must be nominated for a scholarship by a parent, guardian, or other adult, and will receive a scholarship to cover the cost of participation in one of the Celtics’ camps in the Boston area.

Local basketball camps, particularly those sponsored by local colleges and universities, may also offer reduced fees or scholarships for students who demonstrate financial hardship. For kids with parents in the military, Our Military Kids provides scholarships to cover the cost of participation in youth sports programs, including basketball camps.

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