College Bowling

Competition, bowling scholarships and how to get involved.

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College bowling is unlike any other college sport. While other schools may treat bowling as a hobby or a game that you used to play at birthday parties, plenty of small schools across the US treat it as a major competitive sport. If you are interested in pursuing a career in bowling or simply just want to know more about the sport, it is easy to get started. But be warned: The competition is fierce.

College Bowling Schools

It’s interesting to note that the NCAA doesn’t recognize men’s bowling as a sport. Only women’s bowling is NCAA sanctioned, and 43 schools participate in Divisions I and II.

If you are interested in college bowling, but don’t want as much competition, many schools have smaller club or intracollege leagues.

Bowlers of both genders never fear: Plenty of colleges offer bowling competition for both genders that aren’t part of the NCAA. Schools such as these offer bowling as an intercollegiate sport or club.

Participation in College Bowling

Any student can participate in college bowling, but competition is just as intense as in other college sports. There are people who have been playing their whole lives, scouts who watch high school students, and college tryouts with sometimes 100 people attempting to land a slot on an eight-person team.

Ursuline College in Ohio added bowling to its list of sports in 2009. Since then the program has been recruiting players like any other sports program. They even announce when they’ve signed particularly skilled bowlers.

If you are interested in college bowling, but don’t want as much competition, many schools have smaller club or intracollege leagues. Another option if your school has no program is to help organize one. In fact, because a fledgling program hasn’t been around to recruit or gain support, you might have more chance to play competitively for your school.

Are There Scholarships for Bowling?

Yes. Millions of dollars in scholarships are offered to bowlers every year. Collegiate bowling scholarships are offered at dozens of schools including the University of Florida, the University of Kansas and Lindenwood University, which was ranked fifth in the nation for men’s bowling and third for women’s. Scholarships are offered for high school students entering college and returning college students as well.

Top College Bowling Programs

Last season the top three men’s bowling programs were Webber International University, Robert Morris University in Illinois and Wichita State University. For women, Wichita State was ranked No. 1, followed by McKendree University and Lindenwood University.

All these schools are consistent powerhouses: Wichita State has been ranked in the top three for both men and women since 2002.

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