What are the differences between Division I, II, and III?
Colorado Division I Schools: University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University -Fort Collins, University of Denver, U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Northern Colorado
Member institutions have to sponsor at least seven sports for men and seven for women (or six for men and eight for women) with two team sports for each gender. Each playing season has to be represented by each gender as well.
Schools that have football are classified as Division I-A or I-AA. I-A football schools are usually fairly elaborate programs. Division I-A teams have to meet minimum attendance requirements (average 15,000 people in actual or paid attendance per home game), which must be met once in a rolling two-year period. Division I-AA teams do not need to meet minimum attendance requirements.
Division I schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletics program, and there are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division I school cannot exceed.
Colorado Division II Schools: Adams State College, Colorado Christian University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University Pueblo, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Fort Lewis College, Mesa State College, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Regis University, Western State College of Colorado.
Member institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, (or four for men and six for women), with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender.
There are not attendance requirements for football, or arena game requirements for basketball.
There are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Div. II school must not exceed. Division II teams usually feature a number of local or in-state student-athletes. Many Division II student-athletes pay for school through a combination of scholarship money, grants, student loans and employment earnings. Division II athletics programs are financed in the institution's budget like other academic departments on campus.
Traditional rivalries with regional institutions dominate schedules of many Division II athletics programs.
Colorado Division III Schools: Colorado College
Member institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender.
Division III athletics features student-athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability and athletic departments are staffed and funded like any other department in the university.
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 encourages participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities available to students, placing primary emphasis on regional in-season and conference competition.
Information provided by the National Collegiate Athletic Association
How to Prepare for Collegiate Level Athletics
Talk to your high school counselor ASAP about your possible interest in order to develop a high school plan which includes course schedules consistent with NCAA requirements.
Timeline for Junior year student athletes:
Take the SAT or ACT by the end of spring semester
Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse (*see below)
Create a resume that includes your accomplishments in your sport, in the classroom and in community activities
Contact college coaches by mail or by e-mail to request information about programs you are interested in
Timeline for Senior Year student athletes:
In-person contacts and weekly telephone calls from coaches are allowed after July 1 prior to the start of your senior year
You can make up to five official visits during your senior year, so chose wisely. Official visits are paid for by the school and give you an opportunity to take a close look at the campus, the team and the program.
Apply for financial aid, even if you are hoping for an athletic scholarship
Keep up your studies, Division III schools cannot award athletic scholarships so many of them use academic scholarships instead to attract athletes to their schools. A decline in your grades could hurt your chances of getting or retaining a scholarship offer that has already been made.
More resources for student athletes: