What is the NCAA?
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)[a] is a nonprofit organization which regulates student athletes from 1,268 North American institutions and conferences. It also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps more than 480,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Number of Required Sports: Division I members must offer at least 14 sports (at least seven for men and seven for women, or six for men and eight for women). The institution must sponsor at least two team sports (for example, football, basketball or volleyball) for each gender. The school also must have participating male and female teams or participants in the fall, winter and spring seasons.
Total Division I Membership: 333 soccer members with average enrollment of 9,500. One in twenty-five students are student-athletes.
Public / Private: In Division I, 66 percent of the members are public institutions; 34 percent are private.
Financial Aid: Division I institutions must offer a minimum amount of Financial Aid but may not exceed established maximums. Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics, women’s volleyball and women’s tennis are considered Head-Count sports for Financial Aid purposes in Division I. Financial Aid Equivalencies (one grant-in-aid package divided into smaller pieces) may be offered in all other sports.
Division II is an intermediate level division of competition which offers an alternative to both the highly competitive level of intercollegiate sports offered in Division I and the non-scholarship level offered in Division III.
Division II provides an intersection where athletically gifted students can compete at a high level while maintaining much of a traditional student experience.
Total Division II Membership: Division II has 268 soccer members with the average enrollment being around 2,500. One in eleven students are student-athletes.
Financial Aid: Very few of the 100,000 student-athletes competing in Division II receive a full athletics grant that covers all their expenses. Most student-athletes will receive some Financial Aid to help them through school.
Total Division III Membership: 440 soccer members with average enrollment of 1,800. One in six students are a student-athlete.
Division III is the NCAA’s largest division. 81% of active Division III institutions are private, while 19% of institutions are public.
- Division III student-athletes report significantly greater gains in time management when compared with non-athletes.
- Division III student-athletes report greater involvement in volunteering. They also are more likely to report “leadership potential” as an important consideration in choosing a career.
- Division III student-athletes are more likely to report that they see themselves as part of the campus community.
Financial Aid: It is important to recognize that Financial Aid and funding differ at the Division III School versus Division I and Division II schools. Student athletes who play their sport at the Division III level do not receive Financial Aid related to their athletic ability. This is a result of their emphasis on the impact of athletics on the players not the spectators, allowing the primary focus to be on academics. Division III schools offer Financial Aid packages in the form of academic scholarships, leadership scholarships, merit-based scholarships, grant money and needs based Financial Aid.