Division & Sport Breakdown

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Even if you have the brainpower to succeed in the classroom and the skills to dominate your sport, finding a college division or association that fits you both academically and athletically can be a tricky task. 

Check out the following chart. It outlines much of what you need to know—and be aware of—concerning the various college athletics divisions and associations. You'll learn whether the elite competition and top-notch facilities of a D-I school are where it's at for you, or if the smaller classes and chance to be a solid twosport athlete at a D-III put a smile on your face.

Upon reviewing this information, you'll know that D-III programs [both NCAA and NJCAA] provide no athletic aid. For divisions that do offer aid, each association [NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA] determines the total number of athletic scholarships available for each sport.

For scholarship purposes, sports are categorized as either headcount or equivalency. Headcount sports (e.g., football) have a set number of full scholarships only. If an NCAA D-I college with 85 football scholarships offers one to you, it has 84 left for other players. Equivalency sports (e.g., baseball) also have a set number of scholarships, but they can be divided among any number of student-athletes. So if your sport has three scholarships available, a school can award a full scholarship to you, split the second between two athletes, and divide the third among three or more athletes.

When talking with college coaches, remember to ask whether your sport is headcount or equivalency. This will give you an idea of what kind of money is available.

 

Division Benefits Downside
Athletic Aid Available?
Division I & I-AA* *Football only
Practice clothing and athletic equipment provided // Several strength and conditioning coaches // State-of-the-art training and competition facilities // Top-notch competition Larger class sizes // Athletic time commitment // Pressure to perform athletically // Cross-country travel
Yes
Division II
Compared to D-I: Better student-teacher ratio // Less pressure to perform athletically // Less travel Less fan support for program // Athletic time commitment // Average facilities
Yes
Division III
Compared to D-I & -II: Better student-teacher ratio // Games played in immediate region // Easier to play two sports // Minimal summer commitment Less fan support for program // No athletic aid available // Average facilities
No
NAIA
Good student-teacher ratio // Coaches have fewer recruiting restrictions // Less pressure to perform athletically // Transfer between schools is easy Below-average facilities // Coaches may be faculty members // Athletic time commitment
Yes
NJCAA Divisions I, II & III
Opportunity to play right away // A chance to improve your GPA to get admitted to a four-year college // Division I programs can offer full athletic scholarships Division II programs can only offer tuition, fees and books // Division III programs do not offer athletic aid // Below-average facilities
D-I & -II: Yes D-III: No


Sport Division
  NCAA D-I M NCAA D-I W NCAA NCAA NAIA NAIA NJCAA NJCAA
D-II M D-II W Men Women Men Women
Archery - 5 - 9 - - - -
Badminton - 6 - 10 - - - -
Baseball 11.7 - 9 - 12 - 24 -
Basketball 13 15 10 10 D-I/11 D-I/11 16 16
D-II/6 D-II/6
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 D-I 85 - 36 - 24 - 85 -
Football 63 - - - - - - -
D-I-AA
Golf 4.5 6 3.6 5.4 5 5 8 8
Gymnastics 6.3 12 5.4 6 - - - -
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 & 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 -

Related Links:
Non-D-I Pro Athletes 

Controlling Your Recruiting Opportunities 

Recruiting Terminology 

Receiving Financial Aid 

Academic Eligibility Requirements  

Getting Noticed by College Coaches

Communicating with a College Coach 

Gauging a Coach's Interest 

College Visits

Researching Colleges 


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