Differences Between NCAA Divisions I, II and III
“The NCAA’s three divisions were created in 1973 to align like-minded campuses in the areas of philosophy, competition and opportunity” – NCAA
The NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, regulates the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. The purpose of creating different divisions is to create an even playing field for college teams, giving teams with fewer resources a chance to compete in championships. However, the higher the division the more publicity and prestige it gets.
We compiled a list of differences between each division, so you can see which one suits your goals and abilities the most:
- Must meet standard set by the NCAA
- ACT minimum score: 400
- SAT minimum score: 37
- It’s the most prestigious Division
- Offers the highest level of competition
- Athletic departments have the biggest budgets
- 346 schools
- Often travel nationally to compete
- Gives the most athletic scholarships
- Full athletic scholarships are more common
- There’s an average of 18 sports
- Ivy League Institutions are Division I, but don’t offer athletic scholarships.
- Teams can only play 2 games against teams of a different division.
- Men’s basketball teams must play home 1/3 of their games.
- Schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletics program, but may not exceed the maximum for each sport
- Football is divided into:
- FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) – the highest level of college football.
- FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) – the next highest level of college football
- Must meet standards set by the NCAA
- ACT minimum score: 68
- SAT minimum score: 820
- 307 schools
- Provides one championship opportunity for every seven athletes, the highest championship access ratio in the NCAA
- Division II schools offers fewer scholarships than in Division I
- Most athletes receive partial scholarships
- Mostly travels regionally to compete
- Each sport has games and participant minimums
- Football and basketball teams must play at least 50% of their games against Division II, FBS, or FCS teams
- There are maximum financial aid for each sport
- There’s an average of 15 sports
- Must meet admission standards set by the school
- Lowest competition level
- Smallest athletic budgets
- 429 schools
- Has the highest graduation rate among athletes
- Is the largest NCAA division
- No athletic scholarships
- Shorter practice hours
- There is less focus on generating revenue or creating events.
- There are contest and participant minimums for each sport.
- Offers an average of 18 sports per school
For detailed eligibility requirements go to: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/eligibility_center/Quick_Reference_Sheet.pdf