Understanding The NCAA
Many of you are dreaming about pursuing your athletic aspirations at universities in the States. But when you start to explore your options to prepare for your student-athlete career in the USA, you come upon the NCAA. Who is the NCAA and what do they do?
Who is the NCAA?
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the largest University sports governing body in the United States with more than 1200 Universities in 24 different sports and supporting nearly a half a million student-athletes to make up 19,500 teams who compete in college sports across the United States. The NCAA are hosts to 90 national championships, where 45 are administered for women and 42 for men, there are a total of nearly 54000 student-athletes that participate in NCAA Championships each year. The NCAA’s current 3 divisions structure was formed in 1973 to ensure a fair playing field for teams that are similar in size and infrastructure.
Division I athletic programs generally have the biggest budgets and offer the largest number of scholarships. There are different levels of athletic requirements for each of the divisions. DI is the highest standard with many of your athletes hoping to make a career out of their sport. DII athletics also very competitive, but many athletes feel they are able to better balance their academics alongside their sport. DIII is the only division that does not offer athletic scholarships, but students are often granted an academic or need-based scholarship.
Is Division I better than Division II?
Not necessarily. Universities are placed into divisions based on size, budget and athletic prowess. Large universities, with big budgets, are generally DI, while smaller colleges compete in DII and DIII. Do not be confused; a university's athletic division is not a measure of their academic ranking. There are many world-class DIII colleges, for example, the world-renowned MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), is a DIII university.
Scholarships within the NCAA
The NCAA Division I and II award more than $2.7 billion dollars in athletic scholarships to more than 150,000 athletes each year. It is important to remember that Division III does not offer any sports scholarships at all.
The question we get asked a lot of the time is what is included in a sports scholarship? Division I and II university scholarships can include tuition and fees, room and board (meals and on-campus housing), books and other related expenses when attending the university. The majority of students win scholarships, covering a portion of the costs. In our 5 years of experience in helping students to win sports scholarships, we have found that student-athletes who do not win full scholarships still receive substantial amounts in funding when they are meeting our scholarship standards.
Division I - Academic Requirements
Any student-athlete who wants to compete in the NCAA, at Division I need to meet the following approved core courses, GPA and SAT Test scores. To be able to practice, compete and win scholarships in your first year, you would need to:
1. Complete a total of 16 Core courses in the following subjects
3. A combined SAT Test score of 980 and a minimum GPA of 2.3
Division II - Academic Requirements
1. Complete 16 core courses in the following subjects:
The NCAA is there to ensure that all student-athletes are given a fair chance to compete at the collegiate level. You have to qualify both academically and athletically in order to obtain a sports scholarship at an athletics program within the NCAA. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please contact us and we will gladly assist you.
All blogs are written by former student-athletes. If you would like to learn more, please leave a comment below and the author will respond to your questions.