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Aren’t we all tired of being told about the importance of board examinations and just how crucial it is for us to meet those always escalating cut-offs? For all those budding young athletes and the future Virat Kohlis and Saina Nehwals out there, we can safely assume that sports are not being given the attention and importance that they deserve. As such, it won’t be surprising to note that not many people (parents and students alike) are aware of the types of sports scholarships or colleges that actually offer these opportunities to budding athletes.

So, if you think that you’re housing a potential Olympic gold winner, here are a few things that you need to keep an eye on (we’ve tried to cover as much as possible) –

Well-Known Colleges that Offer Sports Scholarships

  • Sri Venkateswara College, New Delhi
  • Laxmibai National College of Physical Education, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Amity University, Noida
  • Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports (NSNIS), Patiala
  • TNEA and Anna University, Tamil Nadu
  • SRM University, Tamil Nadu

Read also: How do I utilize sports quota to enter colleges?

Types of Scholarships in India

Over the years, the Sports Authority of India has enhanced its operations to develop broad base sports. It offers sports scholarships, which can be divided under the heads stated below:

State Level Scholarships

State Level Scholarships are 150 per state and 100 per Union Territory in number. The value of each scholarship is Rs. 6,600/-per year.

National Level Scholarships

All eligible sports persons under this category will be considered for the award of scholarships. The value of each National level scholarship is Rs. 8,400/-per year.

Scholarship for College/University Students

The value of this scholarship is Rs. 10, 200/-per year. Only regular bona fide students of a recognised college/university studying in classes above 10 + 2 are eligible for the scholarship.

Special Scholarships for Women

Special Scholarships for Women are available to Women National champions (50), Women doing MPhil/PHD In Physical Education (10), Women doing NIS Diploma in Sports Coaching (20). The values of such scholarships are Rs. 18,000, Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 7,500 per year respectively.

There are a few other scholarships like the Indian Oil Sports Scholarship Scheme and the ones offered by ONGC sports. These offer pretty good stipends depending on the type of sports you play and the level at which you play.

Each of these schemes has their own eligibility criteria, so be sure to go through them carefully before you apply.

Apart from stipends, many colleges have a “sports quota” for students who play at the state level or above. They also have their own eligibility criteria so be sure to contact the administration for specific details.

Read: Best scholarships for school students

For the Serious Athletes: How to Go About It?

Athletes pay the most attention to scholarships offered by their intended college, and award value increases if you have more skill, rank, and desirable athletic qualities. These students should be actively contacting coaches at the schools they’re interested in, as even the best athletes can be overlooked if they don’t market themselves well. College coaches recruit heavily and as much as they may seem to want you on their team, they are most likely giving the same, if not more attention, to other athletes.

Always remember your competition. To put yourself out there more, make yourself a portfolio or a personal athlete profile, featuring your statistics, times, top plays and moments – especially if you have been featured in a newspaper, online, or elsewhere.

As you are preparing your profile, also make a list of schools you’re interested in and start with a college search; don’t sell yourself short, but be open to possibilities at smaller schools.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget one of the most important rules about applying for scholarships: apply early and apply often. Many athletes catch college coaches’ eyes during their earlier years in high school, so don’t wait until the end of your senior year to start communicating with coaches.

Reality Check: Things that Parents and Student Athletes Need to Watch Out For

The odds aren’t great. Whether you succeed or not often depends on the year you apply and the competition at that given time. Doesn’t look all that rosy now, does it?

The money isn’t as much as you think. An athletic scholarship does not mean everything will be paid for by the college.

Playing high-level college sports will be a full-time job. Because of the huge time commitment, as well as time away from campus, athletes will often not be able to major in rigorous disciplines, such as the sciences and engineering.

A verbal commitment is meaningless. There are coaches telling athletes as young as seventh-graders that they want them for their team. There is no guarantee that a child who verbally commits to a team will end up on it. A coach can change his mind about a prospect.

All I am trying to do here is give you a real picture of the entire sports scholarship scenario in India. So, if you have won laurels for your sportsmanship, certainly don’t miss out on the opportunities that you can avail of! Having said that, make sure you clarify all the facts with your coaches when discussing scholarships.

The recent fee hike at IITs has taken everyone unawares. So, if you are eligible for these scholarships, make sure you avail of them!

Keep watching this space for more updates on sports scholarships.

All the best!

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