A 2003 study done by "The Sport Journal" linked respect for a college with an involved athletic program. This image positively affects the perception of academic quality and promotes the value of an earned degree. College athletics are linked to recruiting students, shaping their campus experiences and increasing revenue streams.
Colleges that belong to the National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA designate themselves as Division I, II or III, according to NCAA guidelines about the number of teams, team size, game calendar and financial support. In a nutshell, Division I is the most intense, and III the least, within the world of college sports. Students who enjoy sports, but do not want - or do not qualify - to play at that level may want to explore club sports and intramural options too.
Division I: A Division I school offers at least 14 sports, seven for men and seven for women, or six for men and eight for women; offers at least two team sports for men and two for women; can guarantee an audience of specific size for football and basketball; offers some athletic scholarships; and offers enough games to fit each sport's specific requirements. Students must maintain a certain GPA and take at least 16 core courses to be eligible.
Division II: A minimum of 10 sports (five each or four men's and six women's) plus two team sports each; and enough games to fit each sport's specific requirements. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and take at least 14 core courses to be eligible. (Note: Beginning in the fall of 2013, that number rises to 16 core courses.)
Division III: No scholarships, but at least five men's and five women's sports, including at least two team sports for each.
NAIA: Stand for "National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics". The level of performance in the NAIA is comparable to that of the NCAA Division II, although fewer sports are offered in the NAIA.