Happy Division III Week!

NCAA Division IIIThis week was Division III Week for the NCAA which is an opportunity for DIII institutions to observe and celebrate the impacts of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. The DIII student-athlete experience is unique in that DIII schools do not award athletic scholarships due to its unwavering commitment to the academic success of every student-athlete. Student-athletes who choose to participate in DIII athletics do so for the love of their sport and the opportunity to integrate themselves in the college experience outside of their sport. In my experience as a DIII coach, and now faculty member, I’ve seen these student-athletes involved in student clubs, the arts, internships and jobs, and study abroad programs while balancing both their academic and athletics. It’s a truly unique and special environment and in honor of DIII Week, I want to share some DIII facts and figures you may not know, from the NCAA (2021):

  • Division III is the NCAA’s largest division with 445 total institutions (over 195,000 athletes).
  • On average, student-athletes comprise 25% of the student body at DIII institutions.
  • 19 – the average number of sports that DIII schools sponsor.
  • DIII student-athletes have a graduation rate approximately 5% higher than the overall student body.
  • DIII student-athletes report significantly greater gains in time management when compared with the student body.
  • DIII student-athletes report greater involvement in volunteering.
  • DIII student-athletes are more likely to report that they see themselves as part of the campus community.
  • The season and eligibility standards minimize conflicts between athletics and academics, allowing student-athletes to focus on their academic programs and the achievement of a degree.
  • 75% of DIII student-athletes receive some form of grant or nonathletic scholarship.

According to the NCAA (2020), there are approximately eight million high school athletes and only 495,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools, so Division III athletes are among the top six percent of high school athletes in the nation. This is high level competition!

As DIII Week comes to a close, I encourage you to learn more about this division and the hard-working student-athletes, coaches, and staff that make it so special.


NCAA. (2020, April 20). Probability of competing beyond high school. NCAA.org - The Official Site of the NCAA. https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/probability-competing-beyond-high-school.

NCAA. (2021). (rep.). Division III 2020-21 facts and figures. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved from https://ncaaorg.s3.amazonaws.com/about/d3/D3_FactandFigures.pdf

Brandon Podgorski is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Trine University and the Director of the Trine Center for Sports Studies.