Division III (NCAA)


Division III (NCAA)
Main logo used by the NCAA in Division I, II, and III.

Division III (or DIII) is a division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the United States.

Contents

Membership

The division consists of colleges and universities that choose not to offer athletically related financial aid (athletic scholarships) to their student-athletes. There are 449 member institutions (both full and provisional), making Division III (D-III) the largest of the three divisions sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

D-III schools range in size from less than 500 to over 20,000 students. D-III schools compete in athletics as a non-revenue making, extracurricular activity for students; hence, they may not offer athletic scholarships, they may not redshirt freshmen for non-medical reasons[1] and they may not use endowments or funds whose primary purpose is to benefit their athletic programs. Also, under NCAA rules, D-III schools "shall not award financial aid to any student on the basis of athletics leadership, ability, participation or performance".[2] Financial aid given to athletes must be awarded under the same procedures as for the general student body, and the proportion of total financial aid given to athletes "shall be closely equivalent to the percentage of student-athletes within the student body."[3]

All Division III schools must field athletes in at least ten sports, with men's and women's competition in a given sport counting as two different sports. In 2012, coeducational schools with more than 1,000 undergraduates must field athletes in at least twelve sports, with at least six all-female teams and at least six teams that are either all-male or mixed-sex. Schools with fewer than 1,000 undergraduates must still field at least five sports in each category.[4][5] Single-sex schools need only field the required number of sports for the sex which they serve. For all schools regardless of enrollment, at least three sports for each sex must be team sports.[4]

Conferences competing in Division III

* Conference sponsors football

Seven of the 12 schools in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference—all of the members east of the Mississippi, plus Hendrix College in Arkansas—will leave in July 2012 to form a new D-III conference to be known as the Southern Athletic Association. These departures will leave the SCAC with four members in Texas and one in Colorado; that conference will add a Louisiana school in 2012.

Division III schools with Division I programs

13 D-III schools currently play up to the Division I level in one or two sports (one for each gender maximum).

Seven of them are grandfathered schools which have traditionally competed at the highest level of a particular sport prior to the institution of the Division classifications in 1971. These schools are allowed to offer athletic scholarships in their Division I sports to remain competitive with their opponents.[6]

(SUNY Oneonta was previously grandfathered in men's soccer but dropped down to Division III in 2006.)

The other six schools choose to play up in one sport for men and optionally one sport for women, but they are not grandfathered and thus are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships. Academic-based and need-based financial aid is still available.

Football and basketball may not be grandfathered Division I programs because their revenue-enhancing potential would give them an unfair advantage over other Division III schools. In 1992, several Division III schools who competed at the Division I level in basketball, most notably Georgetown University, were forced to upgrade the rest of their athletic program to a Division I level.

The NCAA currently has a moratorium in place on schools moving divisions, including Division III schools playing up to Division I.[7]

Recent changes

In 2003, concerned about the direction of the Division, the Division III Presidents' Council, led by Middlebury College President John McCardell, acted to limit the length of the traditional and non-traditional seasons, eliminate redshirting, and redefine a season of participation, all of which were approved by a majority vote of the membership.

An additional proposal which would have eliminated the ability of the institutions listed above to offer athletic scholarships was rejected, though rules limiting the exception to only those schools currently offering D-I programs was approved. These actions took place at the January 2004 NCAA Convention.

References

External links


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