When a student-athlete makes the decision to play collegiate athletics, there are a number of factors that must be considered to find a college that is a perfect fit. One of the more challenging aspects to navigate is identifying which college programs will challenge you athletically, but won’t be too difficult that you won’t have an opportunity to compete.

College programs are broken up into different divisions with varying competition levels and academic offerings. Here are all of the athletic governing bodies that student-athletes can choose to play in at the next level.

4 Year College Divisions

NCAA Division I: This is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics in the US, consisting of 351 schools across the country. Division I schools offer the most scholarships and compete in a wide range of sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and more.

NCAA Division II: This level of competition consists of smaller schools that typically offer fewer scholarships than Division I schools. Division II schools have fewer athletic programs and smaller budgets but still provide high-quality athletic competition.

NCAA Division III: This division consists of schools that prioritize academics over athletics. Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships but still offer a high level of athletic competition for student-athletes who are passionate about their sport.

NAIA: The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is another governing body for college athletics in the US, with over 250 member schools. NAIA schools offer scholarships and compete in a range of sports, including basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

2 Year College Divisions

NJCAA: The National Junior College Athletic Association is the governing body for two-year colleges in the US. NJCAA schools offer athletic scholarships and compete in a variety of sports, including baseball, softball, and basketball.

CCCAA: The California Community College Athletic Association is the governing body for community colleges in California. CCCAA schools offer athletic scholarships and compete in a range of sports, including football, soccer, and swimming.

How Can SportsRecruits Help Me Find The Right College Fit?

SportsRecruits offers a number of features that can assist student-athletes in identifying the right college programs for them. The Advanced School Search is a search engine that all SportsRecruits users can take advantage of that will help narrow down college programs based on whatever criteria is most important to them. You can sort schools by division, level, location, size, and much more!

SportsRecruits also gives student-athletes the ability to communicate with college coaches through a built-in Messaging System. This is a very efficient way for student-athletes to email college coaches, which gives them access to all of the information you have filled out on your profile!

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Mike Babich is a Senior Recruiting Analyst at SportsRecruits. Mike has experience in collegiate athletics as a former football student-athlete at Mount Ida College, as well as a Graduate Assistant and Assistant Football Coach at Long Island University. He also served in the role of an Admissions Counselor for two years at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, New York. He has a passion for helping student-athletes better navigate and understand the recruiting process.