So you want to be a USA collegiate athlete? Here are some things you should know about the sports governing body, the NCAA!
There are three main governing bodies or athletic associations that deal with college sport in the States; the NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA. This blog will focus on the NCAA and what you need to know about getting into an NCAA university.
What is the NCAA?
NCAA stands for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and it is an organization that facilitates the majority of colleges sports in the United States.
How many universities are in the NCAA?
The NCAA currently has 1123 colleges and universities under their governance in the US. There are 347 schools in DI, 309 in DII and 442 in DIII.
What do the different divisions mean?
Among the thousand-plus universities, the NCAA is divided among three divisions, very simply know as DI, DII and DIII. There are different levels of athletic requirements for each of the divisions.
DI is the highest standard, and to participate in your sport for a DI school, you need permission (clearance) from the NCAA governing body. DI schools also have the largest budget for athletics and offer the most amount of scholarships.
DII athletics also compete at an extremely high level, and students are given a lot of support in their academic lives as well as athletic. A majority of DII athletes compete on some level of scholarship.
DIII is the only division that does not offer athletic scholarships, but students are often granted academic or need-based scholarships.
Are DI universities better than DII and DII?
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 universities 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.
What do you need to do to get into a NCAA university?
As mentioned above, the NCAA has a high standard of athletic excellence. Take a look here to see the NCAA requirements for the different sports for each division.
Aside from wanting to get the best performance possible from their athletes, the NCAA is hugely invested in having well-rounded students, and so there are several important academic requirements that NCAA universities ask of athletic hopefuls before they can be accepted into any programs.
Firstly, make sure you begin preparing for the SAT or ACT well in advance so that you have enough time to study and retake the test if need be. There are a lot of great resources online to help you ace it.
Secondly, make sure that your school subject choices match up to NCAA subject requirements. Refer to this blog post that will help you identify if you’re on the right track with school subjects.
The NCAA is regarded as one of the greatest athletic bodies in the world, and they have a lot to offer athletes in terms of opportunity, exposure and excellence.