Kids who excel at sports usually get a leg up in life.  Learning to work with, and eventually lead a team translate easily into adult and career life.  The winning and the losing help them to see the bigger picture in life, and ultimately that lends to priceless wisdom.  On top of all of that and more - sports also open the door to higher education in the form of scholarships.

Usually, this reminds us of football, baseball, and basketball.  And, while those sports pair up hundreds and thousands of talented student athletes with scholarships that will pave the way for their brighter futures - they are not the most likely sports to secure that sweet financial assistance.  According to a recent report from Marketwatch, the sports that give you the highest probability of securing a college scholarship don't even have the word ball in them.  Just take a look at the list for boys:

NCAA & NAIA schoolsNumber of
high-school
athletes
Athletic
scholarships
Ratio of
high-school
athletes
to college
scholarships
Gymnastics1,995101 20:1
Fencing2,18999 22:1
Ice Hockey35,393981 36:1
Football1,122,02425,918 43:1
Golf152,6472,998 51:1
Skiing - alpine5,593107 52:1
Rifle2,66847 57:1
Basketball541,0549,504 57:1
Baseball482,6298,062 60:1
Soccer417,4196,152 68:1
Swimming & diving138,3731,994 69:1
Tennis191,0042,417 79:1
Lacrosse106,7201,251 85:1
Cross country252,5472,722 93:1
Track & field653,9715,930 110:1
Water polo21,451126 170:1
Wrestling269,5141,530 176:1
Volleyball52,149294 177:1

Football is no slouch, giving high school boys a 1 in 43 chance at grabbing a scholarship.  But, at 1 in 20 - gymnastics is a much safer bet.  Now, let's take a look at the ladies:

NCAA & NAIA schoolsNumber of
high-school
athletes
Athletic
scholarships
Ratio of
high-school
athletes
to college
scholarships
Rowing4,2422,0802:1
Equestrian1,3063903:1
Rugby322369:1
Fencing1,77413413:1
Ice hockey9,15061215:1
Golf72,1723,05624:1
Gymnastics19,23181024:1
Skiing4,54113334:1
Rifle1,5874635:1
Soccer374,5649,26640:1
Basketball433,34410,16543:1
Lacrosse81,9691,77946:1
Swimming & diving165,7793,55047:1
Tennis215,7374,48048:1
Softball371,8917,40250:1
Volleyball429,6348,10153:1
Field hockey61,4711,11955:1
Water Polo18,89934455:1
Cross country218,1213,81757:1
Track & Field545,0118,53664:1
Bowling25,75127594:1

As you can see - gymnastics gives the girls roughly the same odds as the boys, but the rowing!  If you are a female rower, you are looking at a 1 in 2 chance of being picked up at the collegiate level.  Either you, or your team-mate next to you will get a scholarship. Obviously, the rarity of the sport gives you much better odds. There are less than a dozen rowing crews in Louisiana and just over 4 thousand crew members in the entire U.S.!  With as many pirogue as we have here, I find it hard to believe we don't have more rowers.

The folks at Scholarship Stats have broken it down to the average scholarship handed out, how many scholarships each school typically hands out, and so much more.  It's a pretty good resource for planning  your little successful sports stars college career.  Even if they are still in the crib right now.