NCAA Division 1
NCAA Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-I schools include the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III as well as many smaller schools committed to the highest level of intercollegiate competition.
This level was once called the University Division of the NCAA, in contrast to the lower level College Division; these terms were replaced with numeric divisions in 1973. The University Division was renamed Division I, while the College Division was split in two; the College Division members that offered scholarships or wanted to compete against those who did became Division II, while those who did not want to offer scholarships became Division III.
For the 2014-15 school year, Division I contained 345 of the NCAA’s 1,066 member institutions, with 125 in FBS, 125 in FCS, and 95 non-football schools, with six additional schools in the transition from Division II to Division I.
Schools must field teams in at least seven sports for men and seven for women or six for men and eight for women, with at least two team sports for each gender.
Several other NCAA sanctioned minimums and differences distinguish Division I from Divisions II and III. Members must sponsor at least one team sport for each sex in each playing season (fall, winter, spring), again with coeducational teams counted as men’s teams for this purpose.
There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria. For sports other than football and basketball, Division I schools must play 100 percent of the minimum number of contests against Division I opponents—anything over the minimum number of games has to be 50 percent Division I. Men’s and women’s basketball teams have to play all but two games against Division I teams; for men, they must play one-third of all their contests in the home arena.
In addition to the schools that compete fully as D-I institutions, the NCAA allows D-II and D-III schools to classify one men’s and one women’s sport (other than football or basketball) as a D-I sport, as long as they sponsored those sports before the latest rules change in 2011. Also, Division II schools are eligible to compete for Division I national championships in sports that do not have a Division II national championship, and in those sports may also operate under D-I rules and scholarship limits.
Division II is an intermediate-level division of competition in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It offers an alternative to both the larger and better-funded Division I and to the scholarship-free environment offered in Division III.
Before 1973, the NCAA’s smaller schools were grouped together in the College Division. In 1973, the College Division split in two when the NCAA began using numeric designations for its competitions. The College Division members who wanted to offer athletic scholarships or compete against those who did became Division II, while those who chose not to offer athletic scholarships became Division III.
Nationally, ESPN televises the championship game in football, CBS televises the men’s basketball championship, and ESPN2 televises the women’s basketball championship. CBS Sports Network broadcasts six football games on Thursdays during the regular season, and one men’s basketball game per week on Saturdays during that sport’s regular season.
The official slogan of NCAA Division II, implemented in 2015, is “Make It Yours.”
There are currently 300 full and 20 provisional members of Division II with seven institutions moving to full membership in September 2015. Division II schools tend to be smaller public universities and many private institutions.
A large minority of Division II institutions (133 schools / 42%) have fewer than 2,499 students. Only 12 institutions have more than 15,000 undergraduates, and only UC San Diego (which is set to move to Division I in 2020) and Simon Fraser University have more than 25,000.
Division II has a diverse membership, with two active member institutions in Alaska and four in Hawaii. Additionally, it is the only division that has member institutions in Puerto Rico and the only division that has expanded its membership to include an international member institution. Simon Fraser University became the first institution outside the US to enter the NCAA membership process. This occurred after the Division II Membership Committee accepted the institution’s application during a July 7–9 meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. Simon Fraser, located in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia, began a two-year candidacy period September 1, 2009. Prospective members also must complete at least one year of provisional status before being accepted as full-time Division II members.
In the fall of 2012, the NCAA President’s Council officially approved Simon Fraser University as the organization’s first international member.In April 2017, the NCAA made permanent the pilot program under which Simon Fraser was admitted to the NCAA, allowing each division to determine whether to allow Canadian or Mexican schools to join.
In January 2018, Division II became the first NCAA division to officially allow Mexican schools to apply for membership, provided that they meet the same standards as US-based D-II members, including US regional accreditation. The Mexican school CETYS, which is fully accredited in both countries, is seeking to join the NCAA with the backing of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Division III (D-III) is a division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-III consists of athletic programs at colleges and universities that choose not to offer athletic scholarships to their student-athletes.
The NCAA’s first split was into two divisions, the University and College Divisions, in 1956. The College Division was formed for smaller schools that did not have the resources of the major athletic programs across the country. The College Division split again in 1973 when the NCAA went to its current naming convention: Division I, Division II, and Division III. Division III schools are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships, while D-II schools can.
Division III is the NCAA’s largest division with around 450 member institutions, which are 80% private and 20% public. The median undergraduate enrollment of D-III schools is about 2,750, although the range is from 418 to over 38,000. Approximately 40% of all NCAA student-athletes compete in D-III.
Division III institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender. There are minimum contest rules and participant minimums for each sport.
Division III athletic programs are non-revenue-generating, extracurricular programs that are staffed and funded like any other university department. They feature student-athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability.
Student-athletes cannot redshirt as freshmen, and schools may not use endowments or funds whose primary purpose is to benefit athletic programs.
Division III schools “shall not award financial aid to any student on the basis of athletics leadership, ability, participation or performance”.Financial aid given to athletes must be awarded under the same procedures as for the general student body, and the proportion of total financial aid given to athletes “shall be closely equivalent to the percentage of student-athletes within the student body.” The ban on scholarships is strictly enforced.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is an athletic association that organizes college and university-level athletic programs, primarily across the United States but also outside the US. The NAIA began accepting members from Canada in 1972, which made it the only international intercollegiate athletic association in North America until 2009. Today there are three Canadian members. As of July 1, 2016, the NAIA reports having 250 member institutions.
The NAIA, whose headquarters is in Kansas City, Missouri, sponsors 25 national championships. The CBS Sports Network, formerly called CSTV, serves as the national media outlet for the NAIA. In 2014, ESPNU began carrying the NAIA National Football Championship.
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), founded in 1938, is an association of community college and junior college athletic departments throughout the United States. It is divided into divisions and regions. The current NJCAA holds 24 separate regions across 24 states.