5 Ways to Play College Football Without a Scholarship

So you want to play football in college but don't have a scholarship? No problem! There are still plenty of ways to make it happen. Here are five things you can do to play college football without a scholarship:

1. Look for schools that offer non-scholarship programs.

2. Consider playing at the Division II or III levels.

3. Try out for a team as a walk-on.

4 Look into attending a junior college first.

5. Keep your grades up!

Let's go more in-depth with each of these ways to play college football without a scholarship!

Option 1: Look for schools that offer non-scholarship programs.

While college football is primarily associated with athletic scholarships, there are a few schools out there that have non-scholarship programs. This means that students have the opportunity to try out for the team and earn a spot on the roster, regardless of their financial situation.

However, it should be noted that these spots are often reserved for walk-ons or students paying their way through school. Still, this option is worth considering for any aspiring college football player determined to make their dream a reality. It may involve some extra effort and hard work, but it could lead to a fulfilling college football experience.

Option 2: Consider playing at the Division II or III levels.

It's no secret that college athletics can be a tough playing field, with intense competition for spots on Division I teams and limited scholarship opportunities. However, Division II and III football provide options for those who want to continue their athletic career at the college level.

While the competition may not be as intense, it can still serve as a great way for players to test their skills and see if they have what it takes to make it in college sports. Plus, participating in these lower divisions can also lead to partial scholarship opportunities. So, don't count out these divisions as a potential route to college football success.

Option 3: Try out for a team as a walk-on.

While college football teams often prioritize scholarship players, they also actively recruit talented walk-ons who are willing to put in the extra work and dedicate themselves to the team. These unsung heroes can have just as much impact on the field as their scholarship counterparts, and many college coaches see walk-ons as valuable asset to their program.

Additionally, walk-ons often bring a unique passion and drive that can inspire and motivate teammates. And for those players hoping to earn a scholarship in the future, starting out as a walk-on allows them to prove their worth and earn valuable playing experience before being fully recruited by the team. So if you have the talent and dedication, don't discount the option of becoming a college football walk-on. You never know where hard work might take you.

Option 4: Look into attending a junior college first.

Trading traditional college for junior college for two years can be a savvy financial move, as well as provide valuable experience. Not only do junior colleges tend to be more affordable, but they also offer the opportunity to actively participate and hone one's skills in college-level sports, such as football.

Additionally, transferring to a four-year college after gaining experience at a junior college may increase one's chances of being recruited by that university. Overall, attending a junior college can be a smart way to save money while simultaneously preparing oneself for the next level of college athletics.

However, it is important to note that competition in junior college sports can be fierce, with players vying for the chance to go pro. Therefore, it is essential to maximize one's potential and performance at the junior college level to stand out and make a successful transition to a four-year college or professional career.

Option 5: Keep your grades up!

As college football season approaches, aspiring athletes need to remember that their success on the field starts in the classroom. Many college football programs have academic requirements for their players, making it necessary to maintain a certain grade point average to remain eligible for competition.

Beyond eligibility, strong academic performance can also increase your chances of receiving a scholarship or attracting recruiters. So as you gear up for the new season, don't neglect your studies - keep your grades up and stay focused academically to maximize your potential on the field as well. Ultimately, being a successful college football player means excelling both athletically and academically.


There are plenty of ways to play college football without a scholarship! From non-scholarship programs and Division II and III schools to using junior colleges as stepping stones, there are plenty of options available for those who are willing to search for their options and work hard to make their dreams come true. The most important thing is to try different options until something sticks and not give up easily and with good grades, anything possible! Just remember, have fun!

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