College Cross Country Scholarships and Recruiting

How do I Get a College Cross-Country Scholarship?

Thousands of athletes have 5K times that are good enough to compete at the college level. Runners who succeeded in earning a scholarship found the right fit and showed the desire to compete for that team. Here is more advice to help you identifying yourself as a scholarship-worthy runner.

How do I Get a Cross Country Coach to Watch Me?

Coaches don’t recruit you based on in-person evaluations in cross-country very much. They might make it to the championship meets or big invites, but usually not. If you want to run in front of coaches when it matters most, wait for the track-and-field season.Here is what to do for the track-and-field season.

How do I Improve My Chances of Earning a Scholarship?

The easiest way to improve your chances of getting a cross-country scholarship is to improve your 5K time. This is a very easy qualification for coaches to measure and the numbers won’t lie. With a solid 5K time, you can use this plan to better your opportunities.

How do I Get Recruited for a Cross Country Scholarship?

Being recruited for a cross country scholarship can be difficult because of the large number of athletes who are going to be equally as talented. If you want coaches to believe you are a better candidate than the rest then you need to have a strict plan of action. This is what you should be doing.

How Fast do I Need to be to Receive a Cross Country Scholarship?

All times should be established on a track. Coaches typically do not look at times run during cross country because courses and conditions can be so different. Just because you run the minimum time here doesn’t mean you meet a programs requirement. If you want to know if you are good enough to run at a specific college, check their team website to see what times their runners are posting at meets.

Men’s Cross Country

NCAA DI NCAA DII NCAA DIII/NAIA NJCAA
5K Under 16:10 Under 17:20 Under 17:45 Under 19:00
10K Under 35:45 Under 39:45 Under 39:45 Under 41:45

Women’s Cross Country

NCAA DI NCAA DII NCAA DIII/NAIA NJCAA
5K Under 20:15 Under 21:45 Under 22:45 Under 23:75
10K Under 37:45 Under 41:45 Under 45:45 Under 46:45

How Many Scholarships are Available and What Schools Offer Them?

All scholarship numbers are based on a fully funded program. Not all programs use the maximum number of scholarships. Also, many schools have requirements on the number of scholarship they can use on out-of-state and international athletes.

Men’s Cross Country

NCAA DI: 305
NCAA DII: 231
*NCAA DII: 369
NAIA: 203
NJCAA: 176
Total: 1,284

Women’s Cross Country

NCAA DI: 333
NCAA DII: 260
*NCAA DIII: 394
NAIA: 212
NJCAA: 187
Total: 1,386

*NCAA Division 3 schools do not offer athletic scholarships, but they do offer other forms of financial aid.

Number of Scholarships Offered Per Team Per Year by Division

Cross country is an equivalency sport which means all scholarships are not full scholarships, and coaches may divide the total number of scholarships allotted to them between as many athletes as they wish.

Track and cross-country share scholarship money which means that they have to divide up the scholarship amounts in both sports between them.

Men’s Cross Country

NCAA DI: 12.6
NCAA DII: 12.6
NAIA: 5
NJCAA: 30

Women’s Cross Country

NCAA DI: 18
NCAA DII: 12.6
NAIA: 5
NJCAA: 30

Who Are the Top College Cross Country Programs in Each Division?

Most cross-country programs expect runners to compete in track as well. There are opportunities for almost every level of runner.

Men’s Cross Country

NCAA DI:Stanford, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Iona, Arkansas, Syracuse, Florida State, Alabama, Indiana, Northern Arizona, BYU, California, Princeton, Duke, Portland

NCAA DII:Adams State, Western State, Colorado Mines, Cal State Chico, Grand Valley State, Shippensburg, Queens (NC), Alaska Anchorage, Lock Haven, Western Washington, Augustana, Harding

NCAA DIII: North Central Illinois, Haverford, Geneseo Street, Calvin, St. Lawrence, Wisconsin Platteville, Wisconsin Stevens Point, Dickinson, Washington-St. Louis, New York University, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Wisconsin Oshkosh

NAIA: Southern Oregon University, Wayland Baptist University, Shawnee State University, Malone University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Bryan College, California State University-San Marcos, Concordia University, Oklahoma Christian University, Eastern Oregon University

Women’s Cross Country

NCAA DI: Villanova, Florida State, Georgetown, Washington, New Mexico, Oregon, Stanford, Colorado, Arizona, Texas Tech, Syracuse, Iowa State, Virginia, Stony Brook, Providence, Michigan, Michigan State

NCAA DII: Grand Valley State, Western State, Adams State, Shippensburg, Alaska Anchorage, Cal State Chico, Western Washington, Ferris State, Pittsburg State, Augustana, Mary, Edinboro, Minnesota Duluth, Bellarmine, Tampa

NCAA DIII: Middlebury, St. Lawrence, Williams, Johns Hopkins, Wisconsin Eau Claire, Calvin, Geneseo State, Washington – St. Louise, Luther, Amherst, Wisconsin Stevens Point, MIT

NAIA: California State – San Marcos, Biola University, Azusa Pacific University, Simon Fraser University, Malone University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Concordia University, Black Hills State University, University of British Columbia, Southern Oregon University, College of Idaho, Cedarville University, Indiana Wesleyan University

IMPORTANT: NAIA rule changes. You must now register with the NAIA Clearinghouse.

College Cross Country Summer Camps

Author: David Frank

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