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Walk-On

By

C.J. Henry

C.J. Henry -- once a first-round draft pick of the New York Yankees -- will walk-on with John Calipari's Memphis Tigers. His tuition is covered by his baseball contract.

Getty Images / Steve Snowden
Definition: In college basketball "walk-on" refers to a player who is on the team, but does not get one of the team's scholarships. Most college sports teams have walk on players -- football players not on football scholarships, etc.

Generally, that means end-of-bench players who make the team via an open tryout, but there are a number of possible exceptions.

  • Recruited Walk On: A "recruited walk-on" is a player that is recruited for a spot on a given team, but not offered a scholarship. This might happen if the team in question is out of scholarships, or if the player in question is independently wealthy. Some programs refer to these players as "preferred walk-ons." These players might also have an "off the books" agreement that they'll get a scholarship when one becomes available.
  • Two-sport Players: A player with a scholarship in one sport -- say, football -- might "walk on" in a second sport.

Usage

Walk-on is used as a noun, verb and adjective.
  • Noun: "With Carolina leading by 20, Roy Williams put all his walk-ons on the floor."
  • Verb: "Football star Terrelle Pryor has a standing offer to walk-on to the basketball team."
  • Adjective: "Indiana's only healthy returning player is walk-on guard Brett Finkelmeier."
Also Known As: non-scholarship player
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