i Division 3 Athletics Hidden By Division 1? | College Writing: Debate(s) In Higher Education
21. November 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Blog Post 3

Sydney Pfotenhauer

There has always been a big difference seen in the NCAA between division 1 and division 3 colleges and athletes. It goes from the difference in the amount of time it takes to play the sport, to the years they typically go to college. There is also the major difference in the budgeting that each division gets for these colleges. When people hear about the NCAA, the first thing that comes to mind is the division 1 schools. As Zak Ivkovic says in his article “Division III Athletes Are Not ‘Gladiators,’” division 3 schools are “the largest of the three divisions that make up the NCAA.” People don’t give the division 3 schools a chance because many don’t know much about them or how many students actually go to these schools.

When it comes to scholarships people typically think they all come from Division 1 schools and not from Division 3. This is both true and false. When I was considering colleges, I was drawn towards Division 1 at first because of the scholarships that a player could receive. The first colleges that I looked at were the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin. I was exposed to them first through the camps that they put on for softball and I wanted to go to these colleges because of that. The entire time I knew that the schools I was looking at had athletics scholarships available. Once I was a junior in high school, I started to look at other colleges like St. Norbert and was put down the path of division 3 instead. Originally I didn’t know that division 3 colleges didn’t offer scholarships, but then I found out that division 3 colleges still offered academic scholarships. That is when I decided on a smaller Division 3 school that would fit my personality. This is where the main part of my senior year came in. I was able to look at these colleges as colleges themselves and I didn’t have to worry about if I was going to get an athletic scholarship or not. I also found that I was more comfortable going to a smaller school where I would be able to interact more with the professors and still play softball competitively. It is also less stressful to be going to a division 3 school and dealing with athletics and academics then it would be to go to a division 1 school because of how division 3 schools put academics over athletics.

Something that comes up is how division 1 is made to seem as if it is the only way to be going anywhere in any sport. When it comes to the athletes that go professional after college, they mostly come from being in NCAA division 1 programs. When people listen, or watch drafts for the professional teams, the names that are heard are always seem to be division 1 athletes. Even the athletes that people have never heard of still come from some division 1 college. When it came to the National Pro Fastpitch draft for softball, I heard many names that I had never heard of before because they came from a less known division 1 schools while I didn’t hear of any players that came from division 2 or division 3. It is unheard of for division 3 athletes to play professional sports. The division 1 athletes get all the attention so they are more likely to go professional. This makes it harder for people to notice division 3 colleges because the media is so focused on everything that happens in anything division 1 related.

Another thing that makes division 1 so much more pronounced to the world is how division 1 sports are the sports that are broadcasted on television and attract a lot of attention. In Samuel DeVoe’s article, he talks about how division 1 athletes should be paid because of the amount of money the NCAA has coming in. They broadcast all these games and if it wasn’t for the players as he says there wouldn’t be the billion-dollar television contract that they have. Even though they are the ones that are playing the games that are broadcasted, they are still students and students shouldn’t be getting paid for playing for a college team. The fact that there is all this money that players are bringing in through broadcasting gives division 1 colleges the attention that makes division 3 colleges look like there is no point in going to them. I know that if it hadn’t been for me going to division 3 softball camps before college, I would have been dead set on wanting to go to a division 1 school and not a division 3 school. With this the division 3 athletics aren’t going to be considered by people as being just as good as division 1 with the way that division 1 is so widely supported by the NCAA.

When it comes to the amount of money that coaches earn, some of the coaches at division 3 colleges want to be at division 1 colleges instead. The article ‘Coaches Make More Than You’ by Allie Grasgreen explains division 1 versus division 3 athletics. The average salary for a division 1 coach is $1.5 million. The coaches want to make more and that includes wanting to be in division 1 programs instead of division 3. With division 3 coaches wanting to be moved to division 1 status, there is overall a less emphasize on people wanting to go to division 3 schools. Even though there is just as much competition at the division 3 level, the coaches want to be paid more which makes it so that the coaching expertise isn’t as great and leads to programs not being as well run. These colleges can be just as good as each other. This way of division 3 coaches wanting to become division 1 coaches shows how they aren’t being supported enough and don’t have as much money coming is from the athletics because these athletes don’t want to go division 3.

The article ‘Impressive Results for Division III Athletes’ by Dennis D. Berkey has a different perspective on the division 3 system for the NCAA. The focus is on how division 3 schools are getting attention from the blend between athletics and academics. The athletes get to play the sport that they love, while at the same time they are getting the education they need to move on in the world and get a job after college. It shows how division 3 athletes are getting out of college a lot sooner than division 1 too, to there is less costs for these athletes that want to still play in college. Even though there is some attention on this aspect, this isn’t doing much in terms of convincing people that division 3 schools can be just as good. With the scholarships that are given at the division 1 level, people don’t recognize division 3 when they still have scholarships that they give out. The difference is between athletic scholarship at the division 1 level and academic scholarships at the division 3 level. Division 3 schools need more attention in the media in order for them to be able to have more students looking at them over the major division 1 schools.

Students don’t give the attention they need to division 3 colleges they need to, because there may be a lot of athletes that end up going division 1 but there are a lot more that will go division 3 because that is the only way they can play their sport collegiately. With everything that is broadcasted being pretty much all division 1 these athletes have to dig deeper and find the college that will help them succeed. Division 3 colleges are just as important as division 1 colleges and more athletes should be looking into not only division 1 but division 3 also. Division 3 schools aren’t getting the attention they need and deserve because most of what is heard in the media is always about the major division 1 schools.

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