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To participate in Division I or Division II athletics, students must register and be certified by the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse.  Students can get information on registering on the NCAA website at

NCAA Division III schools are generally the smallest in the NCAA, although some larger schools, such as New York University, are in DIII.  Many of the four hundred twenty schools are private and high quality.  The competition level of D III schools varies widely.  Catholic University, Kenyon College, Transylvania University, Amherst, and Messiah College are examples of DIII schools.

While DIII schools do not offer athletic scholarships, students can receive financial aid based on need up to the cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, room and board, books, transportation and incidental expenses.  DIII students don’t have to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

The specific requirements for schools in each division are available at:  A list of the schools in each division is available at   A few schools are classified as one division, but might participate in another division for one sport.  For example, Johns Hopkins University is affiliated with D I lacrosse and D III soccer.

There are a few other governing organizations in college sports.  The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, (NAIA) was started to offer a sports organization for smaller and less wealthy schools.  After the NCAA started Division II and III, size and money were less of a factor in the NCAA.

The NAIA offers fewer sports and has fewer recruiting restrictions than the NCAA.  The level of play is somewhere between Division II and III of the NCAA.  It includes nearly three hundred schools, most of which are smaller in size.  Examples are Azusa Pacific University, West Virginia Wesleyan, and Columbia College.

The NAIA recruitment process is simpler, since there is no clearinghouse and fewer restrictions on the contact between student-athletes and coaches.  Information about colleges that belong to the NAIA can be found at

Two other governing organizations are the NJCAA and NCCAA. The NJCAA (the National Junior College Athletic Association) is made up of two year and junior colleges.  Many of its members are community colleges.

Like the NCAA, it is divided into three divisions.  Division I can offer full athletic scholarships.  Division II can offer athletic scholarships limited to tuition, fees, and books.  Division III may not provide athletically-related financial assistance.  A few NJCAA examples are Iowa Western Community College, Illinois Central College, and South Georgia College.

The NCCAA is the National Christian College Athletic Association.  Many of its members are also NCAA or NAIA members.  It is divided into two divisions.  Division 1 schools offer athletic scholarships, Division 2 don’t.  Central Baptist College, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Mount Vernon Nazarene University all belong to the NCCAA.

One Comment

  • Hunt for scholarships and keep hunting for scholarships.
    Do this even after you start college. There might be financial assistance possibilities that you do not discover until on campus.

    There might also be new opportunities that arise in your
    sophomore years and later, so always keep your eyes
    open for help.

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