Why choose Division III?


Division III Web site

What the Division III wants to accomplish:

To govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.

Who we are:

Follow your passions and discover your potential. 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, where 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 the full spectrum of opportunities available during their time in college. In this way, Division III provides an integrated environment for student-athletes to take responsibility for their own paths, follow their passions and find their potential through a comprehensive educational experience.

What we stand for:

  • Proportion: appropriate relation of academics with opportunities to pursue athletics & other passions
  • Comprehensive Learning: opportunity for broad-based education and success
  • Passion: playing for the love of the game, competition, fun and self-improvement
  • Responsibility: development of accountability through personal commitment and choices
  • Sportsmanship: fair and respectful conduct toward all participants and supporters
  • Citizenship: dedication to developing responsible leaders and citizens in our communities


  • Student-Athletes/Parents
  • DIII Internal Constituencies
  • General Public/Media

Audience benefits:

  • Continue to compete in a highly competitive athletic program and retain the full spectrum of college life - Focus on academic achievement while graduating with a comprehensive education that builds skills beyond the classroom
  • Access financial aid for college without the obligations of an athletic scholarship
  • Opportunities to play more than one sport
  • Be responsible for your own path, discover potential through opportunities to pursue many interests
  • Academics are the primary focus for student-athletes. Shorter practice and playing seasons, no red-shirting and regional competition minimize time away from their academic studies and keep student-athletes on a path to graduation.
  • Student-athletes are integrated on campus and treated like all other members of the general student-body, keeping them focused on being a student first.
  • Participation in athletics provides valuable “life lessons” for student-athletes (teamwork, discipline, perseverance, leadership, etc) which often translate into becoming a better student and more responsible citizen.
  • Division III institutions develop student-athlete potential through a comprehensive educational approach - Division III institutions offer athletics for the educational value and benefit to the student-athlete, not for the purposes of revenue generation or entertainment.
  • Participation in athletics provides valuable “life lessons” for student-athletes (teamwork, discipline, perseverance, leadership, etc) which often translate into becoming a better student and more responsible citizen.
  • Student-athletes compete in a highly competitive athletic program and retain the full spectrum of college life
  • Student-athletes do not receive monetary incentive to play sports but rather participate for the love of the game.

Reasons to believe:

Comprehensive educational experience. Division III institutions develop student-athlete potential through a holistic educational approach that includes rigorous academics, competitive athletics and opportunity to pursue other interests and passions.

Integrated campus environment. About one-quarter of all students at Division III institutions participate in athletics. Those participating in athletics are integrated into the campus culture and educational missions of their colleges or universities:

  • Student-athletes are subject to admission and academic performance standards consistent with the general student body;
  • Student-athletes are not provided any special housing, services or support from their institution different from other students or student groups;
  • Athletic departments are regulated and managed through the same general procedures and practices as other departments of the institution.

    This integration of athletics allows the student-athlete to take full advantage of the many opportunities of campus life and their entire collegiate experience.


Academic focus. Student-athletes most often attend a college or university in Division III because of the excellent academic programs, creating a primary focus on learning and achievement of their degree. The Division minimizes the conflicts between athletics and academics through shorter playing and practicing seasons, the number of contests, no red-shirting or out-of-season organized activities, and a focus on regional in-season and conference play.

Available financial aid. Three-quarters of all student-athletes in DIII receive some form of grant or non-athletic scholarship. Student-athletes have equal opportunity and access to financial aid as the general student body – but are not awarded aid based on athletic leadership, ability, performance or participation.

  • Division III does not award athletic scholarships. Without the obligation of an athletic scholarship, student-athletes can emphasize academics, athletics and other opportunities of college life appropriate to the necessary commitment and their own passions.


Competitive athletic programs. Student-athletes do not receive any monetary incentive (athletic scholarship) to play sports in college. They play for the love and passion of the game and to push themselves to be their best, creating an intense, competitive athletic environment for all who participate.

National championship opportunities. Division III has over 155,000 student-athletes competing annually in 36 different national championships. These competitions provide an opportunity for student-athletes to compete at the highest level and fulfill their athletic potential.

Commitment to athletics participation. Division III institutions are committed to a broad-based program of athletics because of the educational value of participation for the student-athlete. The division has a higher number and wider variety of athletic opportunities on average than any other division in the NCAA, emphasizing both competitive men’s and women’s sports.