College Divisional Breakdown

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NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, Division I, Division I-AA, Division II, Division III. You're probably asking yourself: What the heck does it all mean and how does it apply to me? If so, you're in the right section of the Guide.

These various associations and divisions, where you can take your brain and your game after high school, are available to fit the different needs of student-athletes. For Mike Nettling, former first team OAC linebacker at John Carroll University, Division III fit his athletic requirement, because "no one's required to be there; no one's on scholarship, so you really have to love football to play the game. You've got to work hard just like any other program, but it's not so much a job as it is more of an enjoyment [of the game]."

Detroit Tigers ace hurler Justin Verlander decided to join the lesser-known Division I baseball program at Old Dominion University, even though baseball powers like LSU came knocking. "I was a number-one starter as a freshman," he says. "And if I'd gone to a bigger school, I might not have been able to get the playing time as a freshman, which really helped me develop."

Of course, what worked for Nettling and Verlander might not be best for you. Study the chart below. It details both the benefits and points you should be aware of for each division and association of college athletics.

In reviewing the chart, you'll notice right away that NCAA and NJCAA Division III programs cannot offer athletic aid.

Each association—NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA— prescribes the total number of athletic scholarships that can be made available for each sport. Sports fall into two categories— headcount and equivalency. Headcount sports have a set number of scholarships, and they are all full. If your sport offers 15 scholarships and a college gives you one, it has 14 left to offer. Equivalency sports have a set number of scholarships, but each one can be divided among two or more student-athletes. If a sport has three scholarships available, a school can award a full scholarship to one athlete, split the second between two athletes, and divide the third among three or more athletes.

When talking with college coaches, know whether your sport is a headcount or an equivalency. This will give you an idea of what kind of money you might be eligible to receive.

Division
Benefits
Be Aware Of
Athletic Aid
Available
NCAA
Division I &
Division I-AA Football
Practice outfits and athletic equipment // Team strength and conditioning coach // State-of-the art training and game facilities // Top-notch competition Larger class sizes // Athletic time commitment // Strong pressure to perform athletically // Traveling cross-country
Yes
NCAA
Division II
Student-to-teacher ratio // Less pressure to perform athletically // Less cross-country travel Less support for program // Athletic time commitment // Lack of facilities
Yes
NCAA
Division III
Student-to-teacher ratio // Games played in immediate region // Easier to play two sports // Minimal summer commitment Lack of fan support for program // No athletic aid available // Lack of facilities
No
NAIA
Student-to-teacher ratio // Coaches have fewer recruiting restrictions // Less pressure to perform athletically // Transferring between schools is easy Lack of facilities // Coaches may be faculty members as well // Athletic time commitment
Yes
NJCAA
Division
I-II-III
Better opportunity to play right away // Chance to improve GPA to get admitted to a four-year college // NJCAA Division I programs can offer full athletic scholarships NJCAA Division II programs can only offer tuition, fees and books // NJCAA Division III programs cannot offer athletic aid // Lack of facilities
Division I, Yes
Division II,
Yes, partial
Division II

Sport

NCAA DI M

NCAA
DI W

NCAA DII M

NCAA DII W

NAIA Men

NAIA Women

NJCAA Men

NJCAA Women

Archery

-

5

-

9

-

-

-

-

Badminton

-

6

-

10

-

-

-

-

Baseball

11.7

-

9

-

12

-

24

-

Basketball

13

15

10

10

DI-11

DII-6

DI-11

DII-6

16

16

Bowling

-

5

-

5

-

-

-

-

Cross Country

See Track

See
Track

See
Track

See Track

5

5

30*

30*

Equestrian

-

15

-

-

-

-

-

-

Fencing

4.5

5

4.5

4.5

-

-

-

-

Field Hockey

-

12

-

6.3

-

-

-

-

Football

85

-

36

-

24

-

85

-

Football

I-AA

63

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Golf

4.5

6

3.6

5.4

5

5

8

8

Gymnastics

6.3

12

5.4

6

-

-

-

-

Ice Hockey

18

18

13.5

18

-

-

16

16

Lacrosse

12.6

12

10.8

9.9

-

-

20

20

Rifle

3.6

-

3.6

-

-

-

-

-

Rowing

-

20

-

20

-

-

-

-

Skiing

6.3

7

6.3

6.3

-

-

-

-

Soccer

9.9

12

9

9.9

12

12

18

18

Softball

-

12

-

9

-

10

-

24

Squash

-

12

-

9

-

-

-

-

Swimming

9.9

14

8.1

8.1

8

8

15

15

Synchronized Swimming

-

5

-

5

-

-

-

-

Team Handball

-

10

-

12

-

-

-

-

Tennis

4.5

8

4.5

6

5

5

8

8

Track and Cross Country

12.6

18

12.6

12.6

12

12

30*

30*

Volleyball

4.5

12

4.5

8

-

8

-

14

Water Polo

4.5

8

4.5

8

4.5

8

4.5

8

Wrestling

9.9

-

9

-

6

-

16

-


* NJCAA Cross Country, Track and Marathon are limited to a combined total of 30 scholarships.

 

 

 


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