How Spread is the Talent in the NCAA?

by Nick Clingan

As the school comes closer and closer to an end thousands of senior athletes are preparing for their first year of college sports. College sports has always been considered to be a rude awakening for the mass majority of senior athletes playing in college. Almost any college coach can tell you unless you are one of a kind no matter how hard you work or how big, fast, or strong you are there will always be someone better.

But that is beside the point, a lot of people like to compare the three divisions of the NCAA (D1, D2, D3). People tend to assume that someone playing at a Division 1 college is automatically going to better than someone attending a lower tier school. The true difference among the three branches of the NCAA is a level of commitment.

Starting with Division 1, these schools generally have the biggest population out of the three and are most known around the country. For instance everyone who knows sports in America knows about Alabama Football or UNC Basketball or Maryland soccer. Division 1 schools also are known for giving out the most scholarship money, although each school has a limit to how much they can give.

Division 2 schools are similar in a lot of different ways. Although Division 2 schools are generally not as well known or as highly populated they go by the same rules as Division 1 schools. Some notable Division 2 schools are Loch Haven and Sheperd.

Finally Division 3 schools are the odd ones out. Division 3 schools are not permitted to give out any scholarship money for athletics; although, the coach of that particular sport will often find loopholes to cut down the price of the school. Division three schools can range in size. None of them will be equivalent to a big Division 1 school while there are some D3 schools with 22,000 student.

Generally the population, the size and the number of students aren’t the only particular things to consider when looking into schools. People say after coming out of a Division 1 or 2 school that their life is that sport while they are there. There is not many limitations as far as practice time or how often you can workout as a team; therefore, the top two tiers of the NCAA make their athletes treat their sports as a lifestyle since it is year around. Division three schools generally are limited to no more than 20 off-season practices and are no longer allowed to practice as a team until the beginning of the season.

Skill wise Division 1 is certainly the top tier. Division 1 schools are filled with the High school All Americans and generally the kids who had the most success with their sport growing up. That is not to say the lower tier schools don’t have talent. Division 2 and 3 both have a huge amount of All Americans and tons of incredible athletes.  

 

Caroline Jaworski, Senior Oregon Lacrosse Commit (Division 1)

 

  1. Has Oregon always been a school of major interest to you?

“Yes, Oregon has always been high up on the list of my schools of interest. It is ultimately a great school all around with an amazing campus and awesome culture.”

 

  1. How do you think you will handle the Division 1 life style?

“I do think it will be more intense and more of a commitment but I ultimately love the sport and think I will handle it just fine.”

 

  1. What do you think the hardest part of being a Division 1 athlete will be?

“The commitment, it is practically a year around commitment and will take hard work and dedication.”

 

  1. Is your school supplying you scholarship money?

“Yes.”

 

  1. Have you always seen yourself at a Division 1 school?

“I have always seen myself attending a school that was strong academically and athletically but most important a school that would be the best overall fit for me.”

 

Conrad Blazer, Senior St Marys (MD) Lacrosse Commit (Division 3)

 

  1. Has St Marys always been a school of major interest to you?

“Not exactly, although when the coach reached out to me and I visited the campus and saw  what they were all about, I knew it would be a good fit for me.”

 

  1. What about the Division 3 lifestyle do you like?

“I like that although it is still taken very seriously and is played at a very high level, the commitment level isn’t too much, your life will not just be the sport you play.”

 

  1. Do you think a Division 1 athlete has unbearable commitments?

“Considering thousands of athletes are playing at the Division 1 level I do not consider it unbearable, I just don’t see it being enjoyable.”

 

  1. Has your school given you scholarship money?

“Yes”

 

  1. Have you always seen yourself at a Division 3 school?

“I actually didn’t start getting serious about playing in college until my junior year, although at that time in my life I knew D2 or D3 was a more realistic and better fit goal for me.”