To continue our theme from yesterday, newcomers to the college recruiting scene frequently enter the process without a full understanding, or appreciation, of what we can comfortably call the “Gem of the NCAA” — Division III. It’s a bias which needs to change, so at National Scouting Report we continue to press the issue with our prospects, their parents and coaches that D-III is a great opportunity.
The first thing NSR scouts hear from parents about Division III? “But they don’t give out athletic scholarships!”
That’s correct, but as Larry Perrin, NSR’s area director in Northern Mississippi and Southwest Kentucky, said: “All of my D-III athletes get financial packages that are, many times, larger than D-II or NAIA packages. Division III is no joke.”
It’s true. We often see excellent packages from D-III schools for NSR prospects. Some of that is a natural by-product of NSR’s uncompromising athlete selection process. Families can expect very good packages when their athletes have very good core-course GPAs and standardized test scores, as most NSR prospects do.
Let’s look at some of the more positive aspects of Division III:
- Division III is the NCAA’s largest division. It comprises approximately 40% of the entire NCAA membership.
- D-III has 450 member schools within 43 conferences.
- Eighty-one percent, or 357 schools, are private.
- Nineteen percent, or 82, are public.
- On average, student-athletes comprise of 24 percent of a D-III school’s total enrollment.
- Enrollment-wise, the lowest number of students in a D-III school is 256 while the largest has 23,000 students.
- There are 14 men’s and women’s championship sports each.
As for D-III student-athletes themselves, an NCAA survey showed they:
- Reported participating in club sports and intramural sports at greater rates than the student body.
- Reported active academic engagement and participation in academic “extras,” such as research with faculty, study abroad opportunities and capstone/senior thesis projects.
- Have a graduation rate approximately 5 percent higher than the overall student body.
- Report significantly greater gains in time management when compared with the student body.
- Report greater involvement in volunteering.
- More likely are 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. In fact, three-quarters of all student-athletes in Division III receive some form of grant or non-athletics scholarship.
Academics and overall school involvement are emphasized with D-III student-athletes upon enrolling in school. Practice times are limited, there are fewer contests and those are typically within a much tighter radius than D-I or D-II schools.
Division III is simply a better fit for some high school student-athletes who want a more well-rounded college experience without giving up their desire to remain competitive.