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DIII

Finding Your Place: NCAA Division III

Overview

Many student-athletes and their parents make the mistake of ignoring D3 institutions, limiting their search to D1 and some D2 schools. For many, however, particularly those that are good students and/or have the financial resources, D3 makes a lot of sense. What kind of player is best suited to play D3? Generally, a good D3 player is one who may be known locally rather than regionally or nationally, possibly good enough to earn a partial scholarship from a D2 school, and generally makes the decision to attend a D3 school for reasons other than basketball.



Generally speaking, NCAA D3 institutions:

· Are private and/or religious based

· Emphasize academics and “pay to play” athletes

· Have enrollments under 4,000 students

· Provide for a greater sense of community/belonging

· Offer fewer graduate programs

· Have higher graduation rates for athletes than NCAA D1 or D2

· Require athletes to meet the same academic eligibility requirements as non-athletes



Generally speaking, NCAA D3 basketball programs:

· Have small recruiting budgets

· Have less experienced assistant coaches

· Recruit almost entirely locally or in-state

· Play in smaller gyms, before smaller crowds

· Are not as competitive as NCAA D1 or D2 programs

· Attract a more well-rounded student-athlete

· Have less rules governing recruiting

· Do not offer athletic scholarships



College Characteristics

Institutions belonging to the NCAA D3 do so for a number of reasons. Generally, size, location and a long tradition and established conference rivalries are the most influential. The majority of D3 schools are located in the Northeast and are private rather than public institutions. Among the three levels of NCAA classification, D3 is the most numerous, with over 325 institutions having D3 status. Generally speaking, academics take on a greater importance for the student attending D3 institutions.



While D3 schools are smaller than D2 institutions, they are significantly larger than the average NAIA school. Average enrollment is about 3,800 students. Schools with as little 1,000 students are less common and schools with enrollments greater than 15,000 are rare. For example, New York University (NYU), the largest D3 institution, has nearly 50,000 students. D3 schools tend to have lower teacher-to-pupil ratios and give greater individual attention to their students.



Nearly 75% of D3 institutions are private or religious based and some are very distinguished. Since most are private institutions, tuition plus room and board is high, averaging in excess of $30,000 annually and considerably more expensive than most D1 or D2 schools. (D3 state institutions are considerably less expensive.) Thus, a good number of students attending D3 schools come from a higher socio-economic background. However, it would be a mistake to imply that all D3 colleges cater to a more wealthy student. Many D3 schools are quite diverse. Nevertheless, you often hear reference to D3 schools as the “pay-to-play” institutions.



D3 schools are generally large enough to offer a good number undergraduate degrees; most having a liberal arts focus. Graduate programs are not as numerous as those offered at D1 or D2 schools though some of the larger and more noteworthy D3 schools offer very comprehensive curriculums and specialized fields. The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, for example, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and its Computer Systems Management Program was ranked first in the nation by the Association of Information Technology Professionals. The University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins are noted for their specialties in economics and medicine respectively.




Recruiting/Scholarships

D3 institutions differ from D1, D2, and NAIA schools in two huge ways. First, and most importantly, they offer no athletic scholarships. All D3 aid is based on merit and need. An excellent student coming from a poor family is a good candidate to receive financial aid. In any event, many D3 players can qualify for some amount of aid and seldom pay the "sticker" price for the school.



Secondly, while most student-athletes need only meet the minimum eligibility (admissions) requirement to attend D1or D2 schools, D3 institutions tend to be stricter and do not distinguish between athletes and non-athletes during the admissions process. In other words, if you don’t meet a particular school’s test scores and/or GPA requirements, you don’t get in.



Recruiting at the D3 level is not as intense as it is at the NCAA D2 and D1 levels. Most D3 coaches recruit locally or within state because of limited recruiting budgets. Thus, out-of-state athletes often are evaluated via videotape. It is very common to find D3 team rosters filled entirely with in-state students. While D3 schools do not attract many blue chip athletes, the more successful programs are first rate, and frequently recruit against D2 and sometimes D1 institutions. For example, Washington University in St. Louis, one of the most prominent basketball powerhouses in D3, is able to attract a fair number of D1 prospects. If playing time is important to you as a freshman and sophomore, D3 schools offer greater opportunity than what is normally the case at D2 and D1.



D3 schools are forbidden to offer athletic scholarships, hence, coaches must generally sell the school first; highlighting the educational benefits and the total college experience his or her institution has to offer. Unfortunately for D3 schools, D3 coaches may not know what they have to work with until late spring. Typically, top prospects wait out their options, hoping for a possible athletic scholarship from a higher-level program before deciding to go D3.



Because the academic factor looms large at D3 schools, coaches are further prevented from interfering or having any influence on an applicant’s admission or financial aid package. Thus, even if the coach has a tentative commitment from a prospective recruit, he/she is unable to make it easier to secure that athlete’s admission.



Rules

Primarily because they offer no scholarships, D3 coaches are much less restricted than their D1 and D2 counterparts. (Some conferences or individual schools may impose some recruiting restrictions and some coaches do follow D1 or D2 rules anyway.) D3 coaches are not constrained by contact and evaluation periods and there is no limits regarding phone contact. D3 athletes need not register with the Eligibility Clearinghouse if they intend on attending a D3 school and there is no Letter of Intent. Student-athletes must conform to the institution’s admissions policy and test scores that is required of all students.



In summary:

A recruit may receive printed materials, letter, or faxes at any time.

A college coach can call a recruit as often as they like, whenever they like.

A recruit or parent, high school or AAU coach can call a college coach at any time.

A coach can contact a recruit or parent after one's junior year.*

A recruit can make as many unofficial visits as they like.

A recruit can make official visits starting their senior year; one per institution.

D3 athletes need not register with the Eligibility Clearinghouse if they intend on attending a D3 school and there is no Letter of Intent.

There are no limitations on the number of times a coach can evaluate a recruit.



*The term "contact" generally refers to speaking to a player or parent (face-to-face), for example, during a home visit.



Coaching Background

Resumes of head coaches at the D3 level can vary tremendously and money is not what draws coaches to the D3 ranks. Oftentimes it is the purity of the game, small-school environment, or different responsibilities that attract coaches to D3. Unlike NCAA D1 or D2 head coaches who are paid to coach full-time, some head coaches at the D3 level may be part-time though the more successful programs have a full time head coach. On average, head coaches earn very little, perhaps $20-$30k per year. It is common for D3 coaches to teach or have other responsibilities (e.g., athletic director, coaching another sport, sports information director, etc.) Unlike their D1 and D2 counterparts, D3 head coaches spend considerable time doing their own recruiting.



D3 coaches have varied backgrounds. Compared to D1 and some D2 coaches, certainly more D3 head coaches were former high school or college standouts with little basketball experience at the collegiate level. But this is changing. Many D3 coaches are now coming in with prior collegiate coaching experience. The better the program the better the background of the coach. Bob Gaillard coached at the University of San Francisco (D1) and turned the program into a national contender and then came over to Lewis and Clark College where he proceeded to do the same thing.



Coaching differences at the D3 level are more apparent at the assistant level. While the more successful programs employ a full time or part time assistant, it is estimated that perhaps just half of D3 institutions have an assistant. Those institutions that are fortunate enough to hire an assistant coach generally do so on a part-time basis. Assistant pay is low which suggests those assisting do it because they love the game and wish to garner some experience that will promote their own career paths. But even the assistant coaching ranks are getting better - at least for the premier programs. Baldwin-Wallace recently reported that over half of those applying for an assistant position had college coaching experience and the person they eventually selected had seven years of college assistant experience.



While most D1 or D2 assistant coaches are specialists and can provide an athlete better skill (position) instruction, athletes attending D3 institutions may not receive individual instruction due to the lack of experience in the assistant coaching ranks. Among the more successful D3 programs, however, adequate staffing and experience may be available but it is generally not as good as one would find at the D1 or D2 level.



Schedule/Practices/Games

Despite D3 institutions being noted for their academic prowess, the more successful D3 basketball programs are highly competitive and there are many schools that can compete with D2, NAIA, or lower tier D1 programs. Like all NCAA programs, practice cannot start until October 15. However, unlike D1 and D2 programs that can begin supervised conditioning at the start of the school year, D3 programs must wait until October 15.



Practice time is limited to 20 hours per week during the season. Depending on the program, the amount of practice time expected from D3 athletes is probably less than D2 or D1 athletes -- but still demanding. Practices are typically 5-6 days a week, 2-3 hours a day. Many programs require strength and conditioning and possibly study hall. As D3 programs place a greater emphasis on academics, it is not uncommon for coaches to schedule practices around their players’ class schedules or to have players arriving late or leaving early for academic reasons. This could be a real plus for the serious student-athlete.



D3 schools can schedule 25 contests. By comparison, D1, D2 and NAIA schools can schedule 28, 27, and 32 games respectively. D3 programs develop strong rivalries within their own conference/region. More often than not, league opponents are located within relative short distances, reducing the number of overnight stays on most away games. This too can be a huge advantage to the serious student-athlete. Like their D1 and D2 counterparts, pre-season tournaments may take them out-of-state but even then, D3 schools typically do far less traveling in the pre-season than D1 or D2. Finally, unlike higher-level NCAA schools, many D3 schools schedule games to permit women and men’s teams to play back-to-back. Post-season play consists of a National Tournament for both men and women at each division with a total of 64 teams.



Conclusion

As D3 institutions cannot offer athletic scholarships, they stand apart from D1, D2, and NAIA programs that can. For the majority of programs, the level of play and caliber of player probably most closely resembles the NAIA level. Among the more successful D3 programs, the level of competition can mirror that of many D2 or lower-tier D1 programs. Generally speaking, D3 programs offer greater opportunity for players to come in right away and get quality minutes.



Generally, a good D3 player is one who may be known locally rather than regionally or nationally, possibly good enough to earn a partial scholarship from a D2 school, and generally makes the decision to attend a D3 school for reasons other than basketball. Typically, the D3 student is one who loves the sport but who may not have the speed or agility of scholarship-type athletes.



Very often, those choosing to attend D3 institutions place as much emphasis, if not more, on the academic offerings of the college or university. As a result, many coaches promote what the school can offer after basketball.





Contributors to the above article include:



Shanan Rosenberg, Men’s Basketball Coach, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA



Lisa Liberty Becker, author, Net Prospect: “The Courting Process of Women’s College Basketball Recruiting”, Wish Publishing, 2002



Bob Gaillard, Men’s Basketball Coach, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR



Cheri Harrer, Women’s Basketball Coach, Baldwin-Wallace, Berea, OH





FYPDIVIII.doc (12/06)

DII

Finding Your Place: NCAA Division II

Overview

Many student-athletes and their parents make the mistake of shunning D2 institutions, limiting their search to just D1 schools. The great majority of players playing basketball at the collegiate level are not playing D1 ball and, for a variety of reasons, many are drawn to D2. D2 is gaining in popularity as attested by continued increases in attendance and media attention. What kind of player is best suited to play D2? Generally, a good D2 player is one who may be known locally and/or regionally rather than nationally, referred by a high school coach, and good enough to earn a partial scholarship from a mid-tier D1 school. Frequently, a good D2 player is recruitable at the D1 level but chooses D2 for other reasons, e.g., age, academics, and/or a chance to play right away.



Generally speaking, NCAA DII institutions have the following in common:

· Are public institutions (approximately 60%)

· Offer more undergraduate and graduate majors than NCAA D3/NAIA schools

· Have enrollments averaging 5,000 students

· Emphasize a balance between athletics/academics

· Budget their athletic programs like other academic departments



Generally speaking, NCAA DII basketball programs have the following features:

· Have smaller recruiting budgets than D1

· Have assistant coaches with less experience than D1, but more than D3/NAIA

· Recruit in-state or regionally

· Play before smaller crowds than D1; have limited media coverage

· Abide by similar recruiting rules governing D1

· Have higher graduation rates for athletes than D1



College Characteristics

Institutions belonging to D2 do so for a number of reasons. Generally, size, geographic location, and tradition are important factors. Schools in close proximity to one another help cut down on expenses and time spent away from campus for away games. Some schools retain their D2 affiliation due to a long tradition and established conference rivalries. Finally, the D2 philosophy provides a perfect “fit” for some schools. D2 members believe in offering intercollegiate athletics as part of a university’s educational mission and funding athletics within an institutionally approved budget. On this latter point, D2 sports programs have relatively small budgets compared to D1 and rely more on fund raising events to bolster their programs.



The typical D2 institution is smaller than the typical D1 school and averages 5,000 students. Schools with as little 2,000 students are very common and while schools with enrollments greater than 10,000 are rare, they do exist. For example, California State University at Pomona has over 18,000 students. However, it should be mentioned that while D2 enrollments are smaller, their enrollments are more similar to D1 schools that commonly believed. Nearly 40% of both D1 and D2 schools have between 2,500 and 7,500 undergraduate students.



Proponents of D2 institutions frequently cite their medium size as a major draw; not so big as to be impersonal, but big enough to offer many of the same advantages as D1. Because of their size relative to D1 schools, teacher-to-pupil ratios are lower, thereby providing students with greater individual attention. Unlike many D3 or NAIA institutions, D2 campuses - which tend to be larger – may offer a greater variety of on and off campus activities. This could be important to the player coming from a small school / small town environment. Finally, with larger enrollments there is more diversity among the student body.



As most D2 schools are public institutions, tuition can be very reasonable for both in-state and out of state students. For example, Arkansas Tech, which has a highly regarded women’s program, charges $13,000 for tuition plus room and board for out-of-staters. Since about 40% of D2 schools are private or religious based, however, a significant number carry a higher price tag. For example, Catawba College in North Carolina, with just 1,300 students, charges $26,000 for tuition plus room and board. Since many athletes attending D2 institutions receive partial scholarships, the cost of tuition and room and board is something to consider.



Division II schools generally offer more varied degrees and areas of study than D3 or NAIA. For the average size D2 school, one can expect course offerings in about 40-50 majors at the undergraduate level and a modest number of graduate programs. Schools with larger enrollments, of course, offer more. Central Missouri State with an enrollment of 11,000, offers students more than 150 areas of study, ten pre-professional programs, 50 graduate programs, and 27 areas of teacher certification. Some offer doctoral programs as well, though the number of advanced degrees is generally limited.




Recruiting/Scholarships

Coaches at the D2 level generally adhere to similar recruiting rules as DI. While many of the top-notch D2 programs compete for D1 recruits, they do so within the state or region because of limited recruiting budgets. As a result, it is common to find D2 team rosters filled primarily with in-state/within region students. As D2 coaches do not venture far from home looking for talent, most out-of-the-area recruits are observed via videotape, occasionally at AAU tournaments or high school shootouts. The top D2 programs attract their share of elite prospects who believe they will get more minutes or realize they can play immediately for a contender. In either case, unfortunately, D2 coaches have to contend with the pervasive and false image among prospective recruits that D2 basketball is inferior to D1. For the uninformed, playing at a prominent D2 school can be just as competitive as playing at a mid-to-lower D1 level. Furthermore, many prospects choose D2 over D1 because they may receive greater playing time as a freshman or sophomore.



In D2, the equivalency rule designates no more than 10 full scholarships. Unlike D1 basketball where the prospect is often given a “full ride” among the 15 or 13 scholarships permitted, D2 coaches often divide their scholarship money amongst deserving team members. For example, a coach may give five full scholarships and ten partials (50%) and, unlike D1 schools, some players may receive no scholarship money at all. For athletes at the D2 level, it is much more prevalent for parents to pick up the uncovered cost of their son’s or daughter’s education. At this level you will also find more student-athletes having to supplement their tuition with a part-time job. Thus, resident tuition rates are sometimes a major factor in choosing D2 schools within state.



Like D1, athletic scholarships are only guaranteed for one season though, in practice, scholarships are often extended for three additional years or four when redshirting. At the D2 level, the decision over how much to award may not be left entirely to the coach; each conference or individual institution may restrict how scholarship money is divided.



Rules/Eligibility

Rules governing D2 basketball are similar to those for D1, though the academic requirements are a little less stringent. For example, in addition to passing high school and completing “core” courses, high school recruits must achieve a 2.0 GPA and have scored at least an 820 on the SAT or a 68 on the ACT. There is no sliding scale in D2. D2, unlike D1, has a "partial qualifier" status. A partial qualifier is one who either achieved a 2.0 GPA in their high school core courses or scored an 820 on the SAT or a 68 on the ACT. A partial qualifier can still receive a full or partial scholarship and practice with the team his/her first year. However, a partial qualifier cannot play any regular seasons games.



Student-athletes who barely meet the minimum requirements for eligibility may find it difficult to succeed in the classroom if they are drawn to a school where the average GPA and SAT scores of incoming freshman are significantly higher. This is because there is a natural tendency for teachers to teach to the average. If a student-athlete came in with a 950 SAT and 2.3 GPA, for example, and the average SAT and GPA scores for non-athletes is 3.0 and 1100 respectively, that student-athlete may need extra help. When deciding which schools to attend, student-athletes are wise to take this into consideration and find out what resources are available to help ensure greater success in the classroom.



The following are some of the more important rules for D2. (Readers will note there is little information regarding evaluation periods, one of the most complicated aspects of recruiting. Viewers are encouraged use CBSAguide’s link the to NCAA’s website for more information).



· Players intending to play at the D2 level must register with the Eligibility Clearinghouse as early as possible, generally at the start of one's junior year.

· Graduate from high school with a 2.0 GPA and a minimum 820 SAT (except for partial qualifiers)

· After September 1 of one’s junior year of high school, coaches may send letters, e-mails and faxes to prospective recruits as often as they like.

· Starting June 15, following one’s junior year of high school, coaches may telephone prospective recruits once per week.

· A college player becomes ineligible if he/she participates in any organized basketball competition outside of school.

· Coaches may telephone high school and club coaches at any time.

· D2 programs may host tryouts and prospective recruits can try-out after their senior year. They can also attend summer camps at which coaches are free to talk with campers (prospective recruits). Players may be employed at such camps.

· Prospective recruits, parents or high school or club coaches may call a coach at any time.

· High school players may sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI) which is a commitment to play for a particular school in exchange for a scholarship.

· If you refuse to honor your NLI commitment, you could lose two years of eligibility at other NCAA schools.

· Alumni, boosters or other university representatives may contact a prospective recruit within the appropriate recruiting period (on campus only) and enrolled students may also contact a recruit if part of the college’s admissions program directed at the non-athlete.

· College coaches can make off-campus contact with prospective recruits or their parents beginning June 15 after one's junior year.*

· Recruited players are permitted five paid official, on campus visits (one per institution) and unlimited unofficial visits

· Coaches are allowed three contacts per recruit but an unlimited number of evaluations during the appropriate period*



*The term “contact" generally refers to speaking with a player, for example, during a home visit, while an “evaluation” is watching a player, for example, during an AAU tournament.



Coaching Background

Resumes of head coaches at the D2 level can vary tremendously as do the reasons coaches choose D2. Like D3 and NAIA head coaches, D2 coaches may prefer the smaller-school environment, different on-campus responsibilities, or fewer headaches when it comes to recruiting. Most D2 head coaches are paid to coach full-time, however, with salaries averaging $40- $50k per year, a few teach or have other responsibilities as well (e.g., athletic director, coaching another sport, sports information director, etc.) Some D2 coaches augment their salaries by running successful summer camps. Unlike D1 head coaches who have assistant coaches that do most of the recruiting, D2 head coaches spend considerably more time doing their own recruiting. However, the top D2 programs do rely on assistants for much of the recruiting.



Coaching differences at the D2 level are more apparent at the assistant level. While most programs have a full-time paid assistant, some schools still have assistants that are part-time and either volunteer their time or hold a second job on the outside or on campus. Historically, assistant pay for part-time coaches has been low which suggests those assisting do it because they love the game and wish to garner some experience that will promote their own career paths. The top assistant coaches at the D2 level will usually have varied duties - including recruiting - whereas top assistant coaches at the D1 level tend to be specialists (e.g., coaching post players). Generally speaking, an athlete is likely to get better skill (position) instruction at the more successful D2 programs; little at mid-to-lower tier D2 programs.



Schedule/Practices/Games

D2 programs are highly competitive and many schools can compete against mid-tier NCAA Division I programs. It is common for D2 teams to schedule one or two D1 opponents during the preseason. Like D1 and D3, D2 practices can begin after October 15. However, team conditioning supervised by the coaching staff may begin at the beginning of the institution’s academic year (i.e., August or September). Coaches may provide up to two hours of individual instruction with up to four players at a time.



In season (Oct 15 thru last game) practices are limited to 20 hours per week with at least one day off from all athletic related activities during the season. However, “voluntary” activities, before, during, and after the season may add to the number of hours a student-athlete spends on his/her sport. Generally speaking, the amount of practice time (voluntary and mandatory) that is expected from a D2 athlete is probably less than most D1 schools. Practices are typically 5-6 days a week, 2-3 hours a day. Most programs require strength and conditioning and possibly study hall.



D2 schools can schedule 27 contests plus two exhibition games and one scrimmage. Additionally, more D2 v. D1 match-ups are being scheduled in the preseason. This has helped D2 programs gain more notoriety while providing a lucrative source of income. For example, Northern Kentucky scheduled games with Kentucky, Cincinnati, and Ohio State which brought in nearly $40,000 -- an amount which exceeds the operating budgets of most D2 programs.



D2 programs develop strong rivalries within their own conference/region. Compared to D1, league opponents are usually located within shorter distances, thereby cutting down on the number of overnight stays or time spent traveling to and from schools. (Seldom do D2 programs fly and traveling with the men's or women's team on doubleheaders helps cut costs.) This can be a huge advantage to the serious student-athlete. While the top programs do participate in pre-season tournaments far from home, most - but not all - D2 schools do less traveling in the pre-season or during league play than their D1 counterparts. Finally, unlike higher-level NCAA schools, it is not uncommon for some D2 schools to schedule games to permit women and men’s teams to play back-to-back. Like D1, post-season play consists of a National Tournament with 64 teams for both men and women.



Conclusion

Among the more successful D2 programs, the caliber of play and level of competition can mirror that of mid-tier NCAA D1 programs. Generally, a good D2 player is one who may be known locally and/or regionally rather than nationally, referred by a high school coach, and good enough to earn a partial scholarship from a mid-tier D1 school. Compared to D1, most D2 programs offer greater opportunity for players to come in right away and get quality minutes in their freshman and sophomore years.





Contributors to the above article include:



Shanan Rosenberg, Men’s Basketball Coach, Foothill Junior College, Los Altos, CA



Vanessa Bain, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, Regis U., New Orleans, LA



Lisa Liberty Becker, author, Net Prospect: “The Courting Process of Women’s College Basketball Recruiting”, Wish Publishing, 2002



Ken Shields, former Head Men's Basketball coach, Northern Kentucky U.,

Highland Heights, KY



Jen Nance, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, Ashland U., Ashland, OH



FYPDIVII.doc

12/06

DI

Finding Your Place: NCAA Division I

Overview

For most student-athletes, getting an athletic scholarship from a D1 institution is literally a dream come true. Yet, the great majority of players playing basketball at the collegiate level are not playing D1 ball. What kind of player is best suited to play D1? Generally, a good D1 player is one who is well known locally, regionally, and sometimes nationally, and attracts significant interest from D1 college coaches. Besides being outstanding high school players, D1 recruits are often those most scouted, mentioned in various publications and scouting reports, and garner all the attention from coaches at exposure tournaments. However, one need not be a “blue chip” recruit to play D1, especially at the mid-to-lower tier D1 programs.



Generally speaking, NCAA DI institutions have the following in common:

· Are predominantly public, rather than private, institutions

· Offer a larger number and variety of undergraduate and graduate programs

· Have enrollments ranging from 2,000 to over 40,000

· Emphasize big time college sports and “paid-to-play” student-athletes

· Must augment their athletic programs with outside revenue sources

· Have superior athletic facilities and resources to offer the student-athlete



Generally speaking, NCAA DI basketball programs have the following characteristics:

· Have large recruiting budgets

· Offer specialized and experienced full-time assistant coaches

· Recruit in-state, regionally, and nationally

· Play before larger crowds and have the most national media coverage

· Place extensive travel demands on their student-athletes

· Have the most stringent and complicated recruiting rules

· Graduate fewer athletes than D2, D3 or NAIA schools

· Produce more W/NBA players than other levels

· Expect total commitment which may conflict with educational goals

· Significant playing time may not develop until one’s sophomore or junior year



College Characteristics

Institutions belonging to D1 do so for several reasons. Generally, their large size and a compelling need or desire to offer competitive sports on a large scale are paramount. Unlike D2 or D3 schools, tradition and/or geographic location are less important. Institutions belonging to D1 make a conscious decision to offer the most number of sports permitted and undertake the financial burden of running a large sports program.



D1 institutions are larger than all the other divisions, averaging about 11,000 students. According to the NCAA, about 50% of D1 institutions have enrollments above 7,500 students. D1 schools with as little 2,000 students are rare but do exist and there are a number of schools with enrollments over 40,000 (e.g., Texas, Florida, and Michigan State). As D1 schools are predominantly public institutions, tuition is relatively reasonable for in-state, and even sometimes for the out-of-state student. While this may be of little concern to those players receiving scholarships, walk-ons may find this appealing. Compared to some D2 institutions and most D3/NAIA ones, D1 public institutions can cost significantly less.



To prospective recruits, D1 institutions frequently tout their experienced coaching staff, modern facilities, and national exposure as reasons to choose D1 over the other divisions. However, there are non-athletic reasons to choose D1. As D1 campuses are larger and/or usually located in or near larger towns or cities, there is a greater variety of on and of campus activities. As enrollments are larger, there is more diversity among the student body. Finally, due to their size, D1 schools offer more varied undergraduate degrees. Schools with larger enrollments, of course, offer more graduate and doctoral programs too. Most research-type universities are D1 institutions.



Recruiting/Scholarships

D1 institutions are permitted to grant 15 “full ride” scholarships for women and 13 for men. While many players do receive a 100% scholarship (inclusive of room, board and books as well as tuition), it is becoming more common to find certain D1 players applying for and receiving financial aid. Contrary to popular belief, athletic scholarships are only guaranteed for one season at a time, may not be renewed for a variety of reasons, and are awarded in differing amounts.



The top programs scout the nation for the best athletes and, as a result, team rosters are filled with student-athletes from all across the U.S. The upper tier D1 programs (e.g., Duke, Indiana, and Arizona) attract most of the blue chip prospects while mid-tier programs (e.g., Valparaiso, Alcorn State, and Creighton) generally compete with top D2 programs for the remainder. In some respects, because they are D1 schools, the lower tier programs (e.g., Sacramento State, Hofstra, and Liberty) still attract their share of good players as there is the pervasive and false image among prospective recruits that D2, D3 or NAIA hoops is inferior to D1. For the uninformed, playing at a prominent D2 institution, or D3 or NAIA for that matter, can be just as competitive or rewarding as playing at a mid-to-lower D1 school.



Rules/Eligibility

Today’s eligibility standards for the D1 athlete are much tougher. For example, in addition to passing high school and completing “core” courses, high school recruits must achieve a certain GPA and SAT/ACT score to "qualify". A sliding scale is used to determine eligibility. For example, a 2.5 GPA requires an 820 on the SAT. The partial qualifier rule has been discontinued, however, if you don't meet the academic requirements to be a qualifier, a waiver may be filed on your behalf by the school. Academic requirements will become more strict in 2008.



Student-athletes who barely meet the minimum requirements for eligibility may find it difficult to succeed in the classroom if they are drawn to a school where the average GPA and SAT scores of incoming freshman are significantly higher. This is because there is a natural tendency for professors to teach to the average. If the student-athlete came in with a 950 SAT and 2.3 GPA, for example, and the average SAT and GPA scores for non-athletes were 1100 and 3.0 respectively, that student-athlete may be at a disadvantage in certain classes. When deciding which schools to attend, student-athletes should take this into consideration and find out what resources are available to ensure greater success in the classroom.



The following are some of the more important rules for D1. (Readers will note there is little information regarding evaluation periods, one of the most complicated aspects of D1 recruiting. Viewers are encouraged to use CBSAguide’s link the to NCAA’s website for more information).

· Players intending to play at the D1 level must register with the Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse, generally at the beginning of one's junior year.

· Graduate from high school with at least a 2.0 GPA and a 1010 SAT score.

· Men may begin receiving recruiting materials after June 15th of their sophomore year of high school; women after Sept 1 of their junior year.

· For women, starting in August following one’s junior year of high school, coaches may telephone prospective recruits once per week. For men, two calls per week are permitted.

· Coaches may telephone high school and club coaches at any time, except when a prospect is participating in a summer certified event.

· D1 programs are forbidden from holding tryouts; but may hold summer camps/clinics at which coaches are free to talk with campers (prospective recruits).

· Prospective recruits, parents or high school or club coaches may contact a coach at any time.

· High school players may sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI), which is a commitment to play for a particular school in exchange for a scholarship.

· If you refuse to honor your NLI commitment, you could lose two years of eligibility at other NCAA schools.

· Enrolled students, alumni, boosters or any other university representatives (other than coaches) are prohibited from taking part in the recruiting process, in any manner.

· A prospect may visit an institution's campus (and speak with the coach) at the prospect's own expense an unlimited number of times (i.e., an unofficial visit).

· For women prospects, a coach may make in-person off-campus contacts with the player (or parent) after Sept 16 of one's senior year; for men, contacts can occur after Sept 9.*

· Coaches have seven recruiting opportunities (5 for women) during one's senior year per prospect; three may be contacts and the remainder evaluations.*

· A prospect may make an official visit beginning with one's senior year (one per college) and up to a maximum of five total visits.



*The term “contact" generally refers to speaking with a player or parent, for example, during a home visit, while an “evaluation” is watching a player.



Coaching Background

Unlike some D2, D3 or NAIA head coaches, D1 head coaches are paid to coach full time. (According to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) 2001 survey, the average salary for women’s basketball head coaches was $85k, for men, $115k. Salaries for coaches among the elite programs, of course, are significantly higher.) Similarly, D1 head coaches generally have full-time paid assistants that assume many of the routine functions and recruiting responsibilities that D2; D3 and NAIA head coaches must handle on their own. In fact, the more successful programs have three or four full time assistants who earn more than most head coaches at the other levels. (Iowa State, a prominent D1 power, recently released the salary levels for its men’s assistant coaches -- $95,000 each).



Many D1 assistant coaches are former head coaches and are frequently specialists. At the D1 level, an athlete is likely to get expert skill (position) instruction – something one may not receive at the other levels, especially D3 and NAIA. Besides D1 programs having a cadre of experienced assistants, they also provide tremendous support services that are generally not available to the non-athlete. Preferential class scheduling, tutoring, special housing assignments, and personal trainers, are just a few of the many perks that come with playing at the mid-to-upper tier D1 schools.



Schedule/Practices/Games

D1 programs are the most competitive so it stands to reason that practices and conditioning can be more demanding than the other levels. Like D3 and D2 programs, the practice season does not officially begin until October 15. However, team conditioning supervised by the coaching staff can begin at the start of an institution’s academic year – usually August or September. Per NCAA rules, practices are limited to 20 hours per week with at least one day off from all athletic related activities during the season.



Generally speaking, practices are typically 5-6 days a week, 2-3 hours a day not counting time spent on strength and conditioning and reviewing video. While the amount of time devoted to practice during the season is probably similar among all levels, “voluntary” activities, before, during, and after the season typically add to the number of hours a student-athlete spends on his/her sport at the D1 level. While all levels may expect their student-athletes to put in this time, it is most prevalent between D1 and some D2 “paid-to-play” programs. This expectation could be a major problem for the more serious-student athlete. In addition, given the time one is expected to devote to the sport, some student-athletes with specialized majors may have problems scheduling certain classes; science labs for example.



D1 schools can schedule 28 contests plus two scrimmages. While D2 programs develop strong rivalries within their own conference/region, D1 programs also develop national rivalries or key match-ups during the preseason. Compared to the other levels, D1 players will spend significantly more time on the road with extended overnight stays. Basketball, more than any other sport, has the longest season and places the greatest demand on time and energy. This needs to be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to play D1. Many programs (and this is not necessarily confined to D1) also schedule pre-season tournaments over the holidays. Finally, unlike lower level NCAA and NAIA programs, D1 schools do not schedule games to permit women and men’s teams to play back-to-back. Finally, nearly all conferences host their own post-season tournament while the NCAA hosts the National Tournament which invites 64 teams to compete for the national title.





Conclusion

For those who find themselves among the nation’s elite players, chances are you will be attending a D1 institution. For those who are less talented, however, one may still be drawn to D1 schools because of the financial benefit a full ride might provide or because one considers the other levels inferior. D1 institutions generally offer more academic majors, the best coaching staffs, outstanding facilities, and a tremendous support system for the student athlete not commonly found at the other levels. This must be weighed against the extra demands placed on your time before, during, and after the season, time spent away from campus for away games, and the probability that significant playing time may not occur until one’s sophomore or junior year.



Contributors to the above article include:



Shanan Rosenberg, Men’s Basketball Coach, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA



Rob Bishop, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ



Lisa Liberty Becker, author, Net Prospect: “The Courting Process of Women’s College Basketball Recruiting”, Wish Publishing, 2002







FYPDIVI.doc

NAIA

Finding Your Place: The NAIA I and II

Overview

The NAIA administers men’s and women’s basketball programs for more than 275 institutions. Like the NCAA, schools are broken into different levels: Division I and II; the major distinction being the amount of scholarships that each division can offer. About two-thirds are classified as Division II. All schools are fully accredited colleges and universities. Many are religious based. The top NAIA programs are generally located in the Midwest. The level of competition in the NAIA is similar to the NCAA Division III.



Generally, a NAIA player is one who may be known locally rather than regionally or nationally, and may be good enough to earn a partial scholarship from a low-tier D1 school or mid-tier D2 school. Generally speaking, NAIA programs offer greater opportunity for players to come in right away and get quality minutes.





Generally speaking, NAIA institutions:

ü Are primarily private and/or religious based

ü Emphasize a liberal arts curriculum

ü Have enrollments under 2,000 students

ü Provide for a greater sense of community/belonging

ü Offer fewer graduate programs

ü Have higher graduation rates for athletes than NCAA D1 or D2



Generally speaking, NAIA basketball programs:

ü Have small recruiting budgets

ü Have less experienced assistant coaches

ü Recruit almost entirely locally or in-state

ü Play in smaller gyms, before smaller crowds

ü Play at a level similar to NCAA Division III

ü Attract a more well-rounded student-athlete

ü Have less rules governing recruiting

ü Offer athletic scholarships



College Characteristics

Institutions belonging to the NAIA do so for a number of reasons. Generally, size and location are the two most important factors. Schools of similar size may be in relative close proximity to one another thereby cutting down on expenses and time spent away from campus for away games – important to smaller schools that have limited budgets or more serious student-athletes. It is also very common for some institutions to join the NAIA because of philosophical or religious similarities. Two-thirds of NAIA institutions are affiliated with a religious denomination. Finally, many schools retain their NAIA affiliation due to a long tradition and established conference rivalries.





NAIA schools are small, averaging less than 2,000 students. Schools with as little 1,000 students are very common and while schools with enrollments greater than 5,000 are rare, they do exist. For example, California State University at Hayward has over 12,000 students. Proponents of NAIA institutions frequently cite their small size as a major draw, pointing out that teacher-to-pupil ratios are much lower, students are often given greater individual attention, and graduation within four years is a near certainty. However, being small can also have its drawbacks. For example, schools located in small towns (not uncommon among NAIA institutions) or which offer limited on-campus activities, could be disappointing to a student-athlete coming from a large high school or city where there is a greater variety of “things to do”. And, depending on the area, the school may not be ethnically diverse. With respect to cost, tuition is often higher for in-state students compared to public institutions. Out-of-state students, however, may find tuition at NAIA schools more comparable. For example, tuition plus room and board at Tennessee Wesleyan is about $15,000, about the same as the University of Tennessee (NCAA D1).



As NAIA schools are smaller, they offer fewer degrees and because the great majority of NAIA schools are liberal arts based, student-athletes interested in specialized majors (e.g., Marine Biology, Astronomy, or Civil Engineering) may have to expand their search to larger NAIA schools. Graduate programs are limited and, when offered, typically include just a few disciplines, usually Business and Education. Most student-athletes should be able to locate an NAIA school with a sufficient number and variety of majors, some with even highly specialized ones. For example, Embry-Riddle in Florida is the largest university in the nation offering aviation (pilot) training.



Recruiting/Scholarships

Recruiting at the NAIA level is not as intense as it is at the NCAA D2 and D3 levels. Most NAIA coaches recruit locally or within state because of limited recruiting budgets. Thus, out-of-state athletes often are evaluated via videotape. It is very common to find NAIA team rosters filled entirely with in-state students. While NAIA schools do not attract many blue chip athletes, the more successful NAIA programs are first rate, and frequently recruit against NCAA D1 institutions. Student-athletes with above average talent who believe they can just walk-on and break into the starting line-up on the more successful NAIA teams are badly mistaken. Nonetheless, if playing time is important to you as a freshman and sophomore, NAIA schools offer greater opportunity than what is normally the case at NCAA D2 and D1.



The primary difference between NAIA Division I and II institutions is in the amount of scholarships that each can give. Division I can give a total of 11 full tuition, room and board scholarships. Division II can give six. The source of scholarship money differs at each school and may be limited by the conferences that they play in or by their own school’s budget. Generally speaking, schools will split their scholarship money and divide it amongst deserving team members. The “full ride”, which is more common among NCAA D1 schools, is the exception at NAIA institutions and then, only reserved for the top student-athlete. Depending on the individual, some programs may only cover an athlete’s room and/or board but not tuition or books or vice-a-versa. Like NCAA schools, NAIA scholarship money is only guaranteed for one year though, in practice, scholarships are often extended for three additional years. Finally, the decision to award athletic scholarships may not be left to the coach; a school’s athletic director frequently plays a large role in who gets what and how much. Like NCAA Division III, NAIA coaches often have to wait for top prospects to choose among the higher levels. Thus, NAIA coaches may not know what they have to work with until late Spring.



As academics are emphasized at NAIA schools, the NAIA rewards institutions for recruiting good students for their athletic programs. Some NAIA schools are state funded and receive much of the same financial aid that NCAA schools receive. It is not unusual for student-athletes at the NAIA Division I level to receive full rides because of the additional amount of money the schools have to offer. For athletes at the NAIA Division II level, it is more common for parents to pick up the uncovered cost of their son’s or daughter’s education through low cost loans such as Stafford or parent PLUS loans. At this level you will also find more student-athletes having to supplement their tuition with a part-time job.



Rules/Eligibility

NAIA coaches have very few limitations compared to their NCAA counterparts, even NCAA Division III. While giving gifts or taking players on recruiting visits is not allowed, coaches are generally free to interact with prospective recruits anytime they want. NAIA coaches may contact high school athletes at any time and are free to observe them play during the year without worrying about violating contact rules. (Rules for contacting college athletes, however, are much more restrictive.) This enables coaches to develop more of a personal relationship with prospects earlier in the recruiting process. Common to both the NCAA and NAIA, there are no restrictions whatsoever for prospective recruits (high school or college) initiating contact with college coaches.



Minimum eligibility rules for NAIA are slightly different than those of the NCAA. A high school recruit must satisfy two of the following three conditions to play at the NAIA level:



1. Achieve either an 18 on the ACT or a 860 on the SAT

2. A minimum 2.0 grade point average

3. Graduate in the upper half of his/her graduating class



While the first two conditions are similar to that of the NCAA Division II, the third is only peculiar to the NAIA. To remain eligible, a student-athlete must take a minimum of 12 units during the term of competition and be making normal progress towards completing their degree over a 10-semester period. The NAIA requires each member institution to certify student-athletes’ grades each semester.



NAIA coaches cannot offer paid visits to a prospective student-athlete unless their institution offers the same for a prospective non-athlete. Medical redshirting rules are more reasonable. A Letter of Intent is not required in the NAIA though some schools/conferences choose to use one.





Coaching Background

Resumes of head coaches at the NAIA level can vary tremendously. Oftentimes it is the purity of the game, small-school environment, or different responsibilities that attract coaches to the NAIA. Some coaches are attracted to NAIA institutions because of the school’s association with a particular religious belief or philosophy. Unlike NCAA D1 or D2 head coaches who are paid to coach full-time, NAIA head coaches, who may earn $10-$30k per year, teach or have other responsibilities (e.g., athletic director, coaching another sport, sports information director, etc.) And, unlike their NCAA D1 and D2 counterparts, NAIA head coaches spend considerable time doing their own recruiting.



Like many NCAA head coaches, the great majority of NAIA head coaches were former high school or college standouts. Unlike NCAA D1 or D2 head coaches who have collegiate head coaching experience, many NAIA head coaches come directly from the high school ranks, similar to D3. High school experience, however, does not suggest that coaches at the NAIA level are less talented or capable. The difference in coaching is more a result of the type of players and degree of competition faced. Successful NAIA head coaches that move up to a higher level are generally just as successful.



Coaching differences at the NAIA level are more apparent at the assistant level where having a full-time assistant coach is the exception rather than the rule. The majority of NAIA assistant coaches are part-time, hold a “real” job on the outside, or volunteer their services. Assistant pay is low which suggests those assisting do it because they love the game. (Dakota State, an NAIA Division II institution, recently advertised for a women’s assistant coach for a nine-month term. The total compensation package, which included room and board, was valued at less than $20,000.)



NCAA D1 or D2 assistant coaches are frequently specialists whereas NAIA assistant coaches tend to be generalists. Many NCAA D1 or D2 assistants have prior collegiate coaching experience. In most cases, an athlete is likely to get better skill (position) instruction at the higher NCAA levels due to the caliber of coaches at the assistant level. However, among the more successful NAIA programs the difference may not be as pronounced.



Schedule/Practices/Games

NAIA programs are highly competitive and there are many schools that can compete with low NCAA D1, mid-tier NCAA D2 programs, or NCAA D3. (It is not uncommon for NAIA teams to schedule NCAA D1 opponents during the preseason, for example, perennial power Westmont College annually schedules U.C. Santa Barbara.) A clear advantage for NAIA schools is the luxury of beginning practice as early as the start of school and weeks before the NCAA schools can begin. They can also have their first scheduled game weeks before NCAA schools. This is huge in player development. The amount of practice time that is expected from an NAIA athlete is probably less than an NCAA D2 athlete but still demanding. Practices are typically 5-6 days a week, 2-3 hours a day. Many programs require strength and conditioning and possibly study hall. As NAIA programs stress academics ahead of athletics, it is not uncommon for coaches to schedule practices around their players’ class schedules or to have players arriving late or leaving early for academic reasons. This could be a real plus for the serious student-athlete.



NAIA schools can schedule 32 contests plus two scrimmages. By comparison, NCAA D3 schools can only schedule 25 games plus two scrimmages. Like NCAA D3, NAIA programs develop strong rivalries within their own conference/region. More often than not, league opponents are located within relative short distances, eliminating overnight stays on most away games. This too can be a huge advantage to the serious student-athlete. Like their NCAA counterparts, pre-season tournaments may take them out-of-state but even then, NAIA schools typically do far less traveling in the pre-season than NCAA D1 or D2. Finally, like NCAA D3 and some D2 schools, many NAIA schools schedule games to permit women and men’s teams to play back-to-back.



Unlike the NCAA which limits foreign trips or tours to one every three or four years, the NAIA has no such limitations and the NAIA does not mandate a set number of institutional contests to be played solely against other NAIA member institutions. Post-season participation is not limited by inflexible qualification ratios and independent NAIA schools are guaranteed an opportunity to qualify for post-season play. Post-season play consists of a National Tournament for both men and women at each division. Conferences with ten or more schools have two bids to the tournament and those with less than ten have one. All bids to the tournament play at one site.





Conclusion

NAIA institutions are often compared to those at the NCAA Division III level in terms of the level of play, however, because NAIA schools offer scholarships, many basketball programs more closely resemble NCAA Division II. Among the more successful NAIA programs, the caliber of play and level of competition can mirror that NCAA D3, mid-tier NCAA D2,or lower-tier NCAA D1 programs. Generally, a NAIA player is one who may be known locally rather than regionally or nationally, and may be good enough to earn a partial scholarship from a low-tier D1 school or mid-tier D2 school. Generally speaking, NAIA programs offer greater opportunity for players to come in right away and get quality minutes.



The overall attraction of NAIA schools, however, is usually not due to its sports programs. Very often, those choosing to attend NAIA schools place as much emphasis, if not more, on the small size, close knit environment, and/or philosophical or religious kinship that many NAIA schools offer. As a result, many coaches promote what the school can offer after basketball.









Contributors to the above article include:



Stephanie Duke, Women’s Head Coach, Notre Dame de Namur University – Belmont, CA



Lisa Liberty Becker, author, Net Prospect: “The Courting Process of Women’s College Basketball Recruiting”, Wish Publishing, 2002



Dennis Jones, Women’s Head Coach, Holy Names College – Oakland, CA



Don Dyer, former Men’s Head Coach at Henderson State and Central Arkansas. NAIA Hall fame Inductee.



FYPNAIA.doc