What Are the Difference Between DI, DII and DIII?   Leave a comment


Most students and their parents have a poor understanding of how scholarships work and what the differences are between Division I, Division I-AA, Division II and Division III. There are many distinctions between each category and the ways in which the NCAA governs their activities.

What Are the Differences Between DI, DII and DIII? – Scholarships

The first question I hear from parents and athletes when I tell them about College Prospect Network is, “So, do DII and DIII schools give full scholarships?” The short answer is that DII schools can give scholarships and DIII schools cannot but that doesn’t take into account the many variables that go into calculating and budgeting scholarships.

DII are allowed to give full scholarships but that doesn’t mean they are capable. Many of them simply do not have the money to do so. More often than not, they end up giving several players partial scholarships rather than one or two players a full ride because it is the only logical way to build a decent team.

DIII schools, on the other hand, are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships but they are allowed to offer merit-based, academic and hardship scholarships which are sometimes used for star athletes. The problem is, many of these schools also do not have the financial resources to carry an entire athletic program so they also ended up giving out partial offers.

What Are the Differences Between DI, DII and DIII? – Recruiting

The same budget restrictions affect the way DII and DIII schools are able to recruit. To put it into perspective, I had a meeting with a coach at a small school in Texas and he explained to me that he only has one Assistant Coach on his entire staff. Compare that to the University of Alabama staff, which lists 12 coaches here, not including Graduate Assistants, video people, etc. Obviously, the smaller schools don’t have the man power to fly around the country watching athletes perform in person. They also don’t have the budget to pay for these trips so they usually concentrate on local recruiting and lean on the high school coaches in their area for valuable information about prospects.

Partly because of these difficulties, the NCAA Recruiting Calendar, which governs contact with prospects, is completely different and less restrictive for these schools, as compared to Division I programs. For example, for Division I football teams, their contact with high school seniors is severely limited after National Signing Day. Conversely, this is time when the smaller schools really crank up their efforts and try to grab the players who have not signed with a Division I school.

The limited budgets of small Division I, DII, DIII and NAIA are the reason College Prospect Network exists. We are designed specifically for under-recruited players and the schools that are looking for them. We do have programs for top tier DI programs but that is not currently our concentration.If you are an athlete who wants to continue your career, take a minute to apply on the site so we can help you find the right college fit.

This article was meant to be a general answer to the question, “What are the differences between DI, DII and DIII?” I’ll discuss it in more detail later and post about the DI-AA, NAIA, JUCO and NCCAA schools, as well. Please subscribe to this blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date. You can also submit questions to our Facebook page and we will do our best to answer them in a blog within the week.

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Posted March 22, 2012 by CollegeProspectNetwork.com in NCAA Rules

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