Athletic scholarships have a long history in our country, which began in 1860s when college football began transforming from a leisure activity to a commercialized sport. On November 6, 1869, Princeton University traveled to Rutgers University to play in the first intercollegiate football game. Prior to this meeting, on-campus athletics was viewed only as an informal social opportunity for enrolled students. But when Rutgers beat Princeton on the New Jersey gridiron by a score of 6-4, the interest in the game began to grow.
Shortly thereafter, schools began recruiting players and offering financial assistance in return for athletic talent. This system progressed into the 20th century with no real standards until 1905 when the NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association, was established to regulate collegiate athletics. In 1950, the NCAA developed the athletic scholarship. This formal structure of funding was broad and lacked limitations, leading the NCAA to revise their scholarship system in their 1973 bylaws. Today, athletic scholarships are highly regulated, with over $1.2 billion awarded to talented men and women annually.