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Underclassmen - Do you have what it takes to play sports in college?

Let’s start with a few questions:

  1. Do you want to play at the varsity level or participate in intramurals?
  2. Are you good enough to play at a competitive college? Or is it ok to play at a small college?
  3. Is playing college sports “the most important thing”; or is it something you can take or leave?

Let’s look at the different athletic divisions, and let’s “play ball.”



Varsity Sports 


If you want to play at the varsity level, you need to know that each athletic division has their own athletic and academic eligibility requirements. Most competitive divisions want to see videos of your events.   It’s a good idea to keep a record of all your stats, awards and accomplishments.   Fill out the athletic questionnaire on each college website and contact the athletic director/coach


  1. NCAA - National Collegiate Athletic Association


The NCAA includes schools in Division I, Division II, and Division III.  They follow academic eligibility and recruiting rules.  

  • Division I and Division II schools can provide athletic scholarships, but full ride scholarships are rare. 
  • Division III schools do not provide any athletic scholarships.  But don’t rule them out.  These colleges may offer merit scholarships to make up for the lack of athletic scholarship money. 
  • If you are interested in a Division I or Division II school, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center




  1. NAIA - National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics


  • Made up of smaller 4 year colleges across the US and Canada.  The competitive level is described as being equivalent to the NCAA Division II.  The NAIA offers athletic scholarships.*
  • Register with the NAIA Eligibility Center



  1. NJCAA - National Junior College Athletic Association


  • The NJCAA's mission is to promote and foster two-year college athletics in an affordable and competitive environment. Many scholarship opportunities are available. 


Club and Intramural Sports 


Colleges also offer club and intramural sport leagues.  These are typically less competitive than varsity sports.  Club teams usually play against other colleges while intramural teams play other teams within the college. Students take part in these teams to compete, have fun, and stay fit.  



Take Action 


  1. Talk to your HS counselor to see if your grades are high enough to play varsity sports.
  2. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your coaches/athletic director to see if you have the skill set to play at the college level.
  3. Research the internet, or take the most effective path. Sign up with Get Knowledge for College.


  • We include information about sports offered at the varsity, collegiate club, and intramural level, and evaluate the differences between the different athletic divisions.    
  • You can take the "Athletic Worksheet" survey and determine if a college you like offers your potential sport. 

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