Pick your athletic division

NCAA Division I

Highest level of NCAA-sanctioned intercollegiate athletics. Institutions must field seven sports for each gender, or six for men and eight for women. Tend to be major athletic powerhouses. Typically have larger student bodies, larger budgets, better facilities and more athletic scholarships to give. Student-athletes, on average, spend the most time in training and traveling, and may have less time to devote to academics.

NCAA Division II

Second highest level of NCAA-sanctioned intercollegiate athletics. Works to balance academics with a very high level of athletic competition. Typically are smaller than D-I institutions, but level of competition can be very similar. Institutions required to support five sports for each gender, or four for men and six for women. Many student-athletes supported through scholarships, student loans and student employment.

NCAA Division III

Third highest level of NCAA-sanctioned intercollegiate athletics, and largest division in number of participants and institutions. Academics are primary focus for D-III athletes; shorter practice and playing seasons and regional competitions reduce time away from academic studies. Institutions must field five sports for each gender and tend to have smaller class sizes. Does not award scholarships on the basis of athletics.


NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) is a smaller association than the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). Organizes college and university-level athletic programs among smaller institutions. Competitive labels are comparable to NCAA D-II institutions. Rules and regulations tend to be less complex than in NCAA. Oversees 23 championships in 13 sports as compared to the NCAA’s 89 championships in 23 sports.