The NCAA consists of DI, DII, and DIII levels while there are other options such as NAIA and the NJCAA. There are 286 D1 programs for softball in the United States, in which each program can offer 12 scholarships. In DII there are 264 programs that can offer up to 7.2 scholarships. There are 392 DIII programs, and although they do not provide athletic scholarships, student-athletes may qualify for merit-based scholarships, grants, etc. At the NAIA level there are 205 programs that have 10 scholarships each and 470 NJCAA programs can have 24 scholarships per team, depending if they are fully funded. Spots on the roster that are not filled are often available for walk-ons. The term “walk-on” refers to a college athlete who joins a team without receiving an athletic scholarship. In any recruiting process, it is possible for programs to overlook players or to scout them late in the recruiting process. In this case, coaches may offer high school players to join their team as a preferred walk-on, guaranteeing a spot on the team and sometimes an opportunity to earn a scholarship Junior or Senior year.Prep Softball Report informs programs with the most updated advanced statistics of high school players, preventing future star players from being overlooked. Although walking-on is a possibility, it is often that players declare to play for programs that are most invested in them. Despite what their financial situation is, most players would prefer a scholarship and guaranteed playing time. Prep Softball Report gives players the exposure they earn and deserve, helping them obtain interest from the programs that are a good fit, both athletically and academically for them.
For DI and DII bound players, they must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse to earn initial eligibility. It is important to keep in mind that some schools may participate in a certain division for one sport, and are labeled in another division for another. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) are two governing organizations for smaller school with less funds. NJCAA schools are only two years long and primarily consist of community colleges. After two years of NJCAA, a player may transfer to a four-year institute (NCAA or NAIA). Although recruiting restrictions are less strict for smaller programs, it is important for both parties (player and program) to follow the proper recruiting steps and guidelines to avoid potential NCAA violations.