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NCAA Division III Recruiting Facts

By NCAA | Published on: 2014 | Source: NCAA


The college experience is a time of learning and growth — a chance to follow passions and develop potential. For student-athletes in Division III, all of this happens most importantly in the classroom and through earning an academic degree. The Division III experience provides for passionate participation in a competitive athletic environment, in which student-athletes push themselves to excellence and build upon their academic success with new challenges and life skills. And student-athletes are encouraged to pursue their full passions and find their potential through a comprehensive educational experience.



Division III student-athletes are encouraged to pursue their interests and passions beyond the classroom and field of play…to discover themselves. 


Division III institutions provide an environment that encourages student-athletes to develop into well-rounded adults. Small class sizes, the ability to participate in more than one sport, and an emphasis on participating activities outside of the
classroom are all hallmarks of the Division III experience.


Division III institutions expect student-athletes to dedicate themselves to achieving their potential. Student-athletes must manage their busy schedules, keep up with class work and face the same challenges as the rest of the student-body.

  • Division III athletics provides a well-rounded collegiate experience that involves a balance of rigorous academics, competitive athletics, and the opportunity to pursue the multitude of other co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities offered on Division III campuses.
  • Division III playing season and eligibility standards minimize conflicts between athletics and academics, allowing student-athletes to focus on their academic programs and the achievement of a degree.
  • Division III offers an intense and competitive athletics environment for student-athletes who play for the love of the game, without the obligation of an athletics scholarship.
  • Division III athletics departments place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators. The student-athlete’s experience is of paramount concern.
  • Division III athletics departments are dedicated to offering broad-based programs with a high number and wide range of athletics participation opportunities for both men and women.
  • Division III places primary emphasis on regional in-season and conference competition, while also offering 36 national championships annually.
  • Division III affords student-athletes the opportunity to discover valuable lessons in teamwork, discipline, perseverance, and leadership, which in turn make student-athletes better students and responsible citizens.
  • Division III features student-athletes who are subject to the same admission standards, academic standards, housing, and support services as the general student body. The integration of athletics with the larger institution enables student-athletes to experience all aspects of campus life.
  • Division III encourages student-athletes to take advantage of the many opportunities available to them, both within and beyond athletics, so that they may develop their full potential as students, athletes, and citizens.
  • 448 Total Members (439 Active with 8 Provisional and 1 Reclassifying) 
  • Division III is the NCAA’s largest division (approximately 40% of total membership)
  • Eighty percent (353) of active Division III institutions are private, while 20 percent (86) of institutions are public. 
  • 43 Division III voting conferences 
  • On average, student-athletes comprise 19 percent of the student body at Division III institutions. (This percentage ranges from 1 – 50 percent.) 
  •  254 = median number of student-athletes at schools that don‘t sponsor football. 
  •  502 = median number of student-athletes at schools that sponsor football. 


               LOWEST     AVERAGE      HIGHEST
Overall      335               2620               20,674


Men Championship Sports (14)
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey,
Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Indoor Track and
Field, Outdoor Track and Field, Volleyball, Wrestling 

Women Championship Sports (14)
Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Ice Hockey,
Lacrosse, Rowing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis,
Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field, Volleyball

National Collegiate Championships (8)
Men - Gymnastics, Water Polo; Women - Bowling, Gymnastics,
Water Polo; Men and Women - Fencing, Rifle, Skiing

  • Report participating in club sports and intramural sports at greater rates than non-athletes. 
  • Report active academic engagement and participation in academic “extras,” such as research with faculty, study abroad opportunities and capstone/senior thesis projects. 
  • Are more likely to report “leadership potential” as an important consideration in choosing a career. 
  • Report significantly greater gains in time management when compared with non-athletes. 
  • Report greater involvement in volunteering. 
  • Are more likely to report that they see themselves as part of the campus community. 
  • Have equal opportunity and access to financial aid as the general student body – but are not awarded aid based on athletics leadership, ability, performance or participation. Three-quarters of all student-athletes in Division III receive some form of grant or non-athletics scholarship.
  • Clarify the values of Division III athletics. 
  • Appropriately leverage presidential leadership in the Division III governance structure. 
  • Ensure the division is effectively managing equity and inclusion issues. 
  • Enhance the well-being of prospects, student-athletes and staff. 
  • Promote the Division III philosophical principle that the academic performance of student-athletes should be consistent with the general student body. 
  • Enhance formal accountability of the governance structure

Link to Article: NCAA Division III Recruiting Facts