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Does Division Matter? Understand the Differences.

As you are searching for the right college fit, keep in mind the majority of colleges you will be viewing are part of a division within one of these organizations. The time frame and method that college coaches communicate with you will differ based on the division of competition. The individual college makes the decision on which division to join based on enrollment, number of sports offered and financial situation. BeRecruited showcases colleges in all of these divisions around the country. You can search for the colleges that meet your needs by visiting the College Search.


The NCAA stands for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. This organization oversees the rules and regulations for 1,200 Division I, II and III programs.

  • The NCAA DI includes the powerhouse colleges you most commonly see on TV. These schools have large athletic budgets, generally have high tech training equipment and more scholarship opportunities. Additionally, these schools must either offer seven sports for men and seven sports of women or six for men and eight for women. There are 346 active DI members. Learn more about the NCAA DI >>

  • The NCAA DII generally features a number of local or in-state student-athletes. These schools must offer at least five sports for men and five for women or four for men and six for women. There are 291 active DII members.  Learn more about the NCAA DII >>

  • The NCAA DIII offers at least five sports for men and five sports for women. Keep in mind that student-athletes DO NOT get sports-related financial aid in this division. There are 439 active DIII members. Learn more about the NCAA DIII >>


The NAIA stands for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. This organization has close to 300 college programs. Through Champions of Character, the "NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership." Learn more about the NAIA >>


The NJCAA stands for the National Junior College Athletic Association. They are the governing body for over 525 junior and community college programs in 28 different sports. Most programs are two-year programs and offer transferrable credit. Learn more about the NJCAA >>

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