« Back to Blog

Are Division 2 And Division 3 College Athletics Really That Different From Division 1?

NCAA D2 NCAA D3Division II and Division III

Student-athletes get confused about what it means for a school to be a Division 2 or Division 3 school. Many people believe that the level of competition is not as high. In some sports this may be the case, but it really depends on the individual conferences and school to determine the athleticism of a team.

Defining Division II

There are currently 281 Division 2 schools, with 21 schools currently in the membership process of joining the ranks of NCAA Division 2. 52% of the schools are smaller public institutions while 48% of the schools are private schools.

Division 2 sports can offer athletic scholarships. Student-athletes are able to combine athletic scholarships, academic scholarships, student loans and grant money to help pay their way through school.

Division 2 schools must offer at least 10 sports teams–women’s and men’s team of the same sport are considered two teams. If a school is co-ed they have to offer at least 4 different team sports for each gender.

Teams Compete Within Their Regions

Every sports championship must involve a school/team from each region. This helps encourage teams to compete within their region to gain a bid into a National Championship contest instead of scheduling games/tournaments/meets against schools across the nation. This encourages the schools to have smaller travel budgets.

Defining Division II

There are 442 institutions that compete as an NCAA Division 3 school. 19% of these schools are public schools while 81% are private.

Division 3 athletes don’t have to register or qualify with the NCAA eligibility center because their academic eligibility is determined on the admissions qualifications of the school.

Division 3 schools can’t offer athletic scholarships.

Timeline Link

It’s important to understand what it means to be an athlete of a Division 1, 2 or 3 school.

If you have questions or comments about competing in intercollegiate athletics at a Division 2 or Division 3 please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!