Can you get a scholarship for bowling?

Can you get a scholarship for bowling

Bowling is a popular sport that has been around for centuries. It involves rolling a ball down a lane to knock down pins, and it requires skill, strategy, and precision. While many people may see bowling as just a recreational activity, it is also a competitive sport with professional leagues and tournaments. And just like any other sport, there are opportunities for athletes to receive scholarships to help them pursue their education while also continuing to play the sport they love. In this article, we will explore the question, “Can you get a scholarship for bowling?” and provide valuable insights into the world of bowling scholarships.

The Rise of Bowling Scholarships

Bowling scholarships have been around for decades, but they have gained more recognition and popularity in recent years. This is due to the growth of the sport and the increasing number of high school and college bowling teams. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the number of college bowling programs has more than doubled in the past decade, with over 200 schools now offering bowling as a varsity sport.

Additionally, the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) has also seen a rise in the number of youth bowlers participating in their events. In 2019, the PBA reported that over 3,000 youth bowlers competed in their tournaments, a significant increase from previous years.

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With the growing popularity of bowling, more and more colleges and organizations are offering scholarships to talented bowlers. These scholarships not only provide financial assistance but also give recognition and support to the sport.

Types of Bowling Scholarships

There are various types of bowling scholarships available for students, and they can come from different sources. Here are some of the most common types of bowling scholarships:

1. College Scholarships

Many colleges and universities offer scholarships to students who excel in bowling. These scholarships can range from partial to full tuition coverage and can be renewable for all four years of college. To be eligible for these scholarships, students must meet certain academic and athletic requirements set by the school.

For example, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a bowling scholarship to incoming freshmen who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum bowling average of 180 for women and 200 for men. The scholarship covers up to 50% of tuition and can be renewed for four years as long as the student maintains a 3.0 GPA and participates in the bowling program.

2. Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are offered by organizations such as the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and the PBA. These scholarships are awarded to talented bowlers who have demonstrated exceptional skills and achievements in the sport.

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The USBC offers scholarships through their SMART program, which stands for Scholarship Management and Accounting Reports for Tenpins. This program provides scholarships to youth bowlers who have participated in USBC certified leagues and tournaments. The amount of the scholarship varies, with a maximum of $6,000 per year for four years.

The PBA also offers scholarships through their PBA Billy Welu Scholarship, named after the late PBA Hall of Famer. This scholarship is awarded to male and female bowlers who are currently in college and have a minimum GPA of 2.5. The scholarship amount is $1,000 and can be used for tuition, books, and other educational expenses.

3. High School Scholarships

High school students can also receive scholarships for bowling. These scholarships are typically offered by local bowling associations and organizations. For example, the Greater Grand Rapids USBC offers scholarships to high school seniors who have participated in their youth bowling program and have a minimum GPA of 2.5. The scholarship amount is $1,000 and can be used for any accredited college or university.

How to Get a Bowling Scholarship

Now that we know the types of bowling scholarships available, let’s explore the steps to take to increase your chances of receiving one:

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1. Start Early

It’s never too early to start thinking about scholarships. If you are a high school student, start researching and applying for scholarships in your junior year. This will give you enough time to gather all the necessary documents and meet any requirements.

If you are a youth bowler, start participating in USBC certified leagues and tournaments as early as possible. This will not only improve your skills but also make you eligible for scholarships through the USBC SMART program.

2. Maintain Good Grades

Many bowling scholarships have academic requirements, so it’s essential to maintain a good GPA throughout high school and college. This will not only make you eligible for scholarships but also show that you are a well-rounded student-athlete.

3. Participate in Tournaments and Leagues

Participating in tournaments and leagues is crucial for improving your bowling skills and gaining recognition. Many scholarships require applicants to have a certain bowling average, so it’s essential to keep track of your scores and participate in as many events as possible.

4. Create a Bowling Resume

Just like a traditional resume, a bowling resume highlights your achievements and skills in the sport. It should include your bowling average, tournament wins, and any other relevant information. This will help you stand out to scholarship committees and show them why you deserve the scholarship.

5. Reach Out to Coaches and Organizations

Don’t be afraid to reach out to college coaches and organizations to express your interest in their bowling program and inquire about scholarship opportunities. This will not only show your dedication but also help you build relationships with potential coaches and mentors.

Success Stories

There are many success stories of bowlers who have received scholarships and gone on to have successful careers in the sport. Here are a few examples:

1. Kelly Kulick

Kelly Kulick is a professional bowler who made history in 2010 by becoming the first woman to win a PBA Tour title. She received a bowling scholarship to Morehead State University and was a member of their bowling team. Kulick has won numerous titles and awards throughout her career, including three PBA Tour titles and two USBC Queens titles.

2. Marshall Kent

Marshall Kent is a professional bowler who received a scholarship to Robert Morris University. He was a member of their bowling team and helped them win two national championships. Kent has also won multiple PBA Tour titles and was named PBA Rookie of the Year in 2014.

3. Stefanie Johnson

Stefanie Johnson is a professional bowler who received a scholarship to the University of Central Missouri. She was a member of their bowling team and helped them win two national championships. Johnson has also won multiple PWBA Tour titles and was named PWBA Player of the Year in 2015.


In conclusion, the answer to the question, “Can you get a scholarship for bowling?” is a resounding yes. Bowling scholarships are available for high school and college students, and they can come from various sources such as colleges, organizations, and local associations. To increase your chances of receiving a scholarship, it’s essential to start early, maintain good grades, participate in tournaments and leagues, create a bowling resume, and reach out to coaches and organizations. With dedication, hard work, and a love for the sport, you too can be a successful bowler and receive a scholarship to help you achieve your academic and athletic goals.

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