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Division I vs. Division III: Sports as a Job, or Scholar-Athlete?

Today I spent another fun-filled day at the Colorado Crossroads volleyball tournament in Denver, where nearly 10,000 volleyball players are participating in this national qualifier event.

Parents were steadily coming up to my booth at the tournament (where I was, of course, dispensing some great college advice) to talk about their concerns. The topic of conversation that tended to dominate these discussions was parents’ concern that becoming a Division I athlete was too time consuming and ultimately detrimental to their students’ future success in college.

The first thing I said was that participation in sports was often an indicator of success in college, as varsity athletes tend to have higher GPAs and are more satisfied with their college experience.

However, these parents’ basic concern is valid. Being a Division I athlete is a huge commitment. One must eat, sleep, and breathe one’s sport, and a D1 athelete can plan on training throughout the year to stay in tip-top condition. Further, Division I athletes must commit to playing all four years if they want to keep their athletic scholarship.

But I spent a lot of time explaining that while Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, they do recruit athletes in a different way. Every school with a volleyball team (for example) wants to fill its roster with good players who can take a league championship. Thus many colleges offer other forms of scholarship money to entice an able player to join its team–and its student body.

For you see, colleges have needs that they are trying to fulfill. Not only do they need to round out their volleyball roster, but they need a tuba player, an editor of the school newspaper, and a tenor for the glee club. Think of admissions officers as social engineers: they need to populate the campus with a variety of folks to fill certain prescribed roles. The whole process is not quite so neat and clean as that (it’s not very scientific), but the art of the admissions officer is to build a well-rounded class. And in order to do this, they have to meet the needs of the coaches (among others).

So my advice to parents was to relax a bit. Their kids can still find colleges at which they can have a satisfying varsity athletic experience–and still focus on their school work and also allow them to explore other activities (study abroad, a new social cause, artistic pursuits, etc.).

While some kids are seeking the rush and excitement of serious competition a the Division I level, the majority of players that I met today at the Colorado Crossroads volleyball tournament will never be able to achieve that level of competition. But as I explained to these parents, their daughters will have myriad opportunities available to them, if they learn to play the college admissions and athletic recruiting games like a pro.

Speaking of a pro, I have been very fortunate to have Nancy Nitardy, author of Get Paid To Play, working with me at Colorado Crossroads. She is a former Division I swimming coach at Dartmouth, Harvard, and Indiana University. She works with me in advising athletes on their best athletic options, while I help the same students identify their best academic options. Together, Nancy Nitardy and I are able to provide great college advice for college-bound athletes, whatever their level of play.

Mark Montgomery
Montgomery Educational Consulting
Great College Advice

Reader Interactions


  1. Hi, Mike.
    All depends on what level you hope to play and within which association and division. Restrictions will exist. Why aren’t you playing now? Why are you going to pay for two bachelor’s degrees? If you already work at a bank, do you really need a BA in business? Why not wait a few years, make some money, and consider an MBA? Just an idea.
    Good luck.

  2. Hi, Dee. My apologies for not responding sooner. If your daughter is getting letters from coaches, this is a good sign. But time will tell if she continues to be contacted. Your daughter’s situation is very tricky, and it’s not one that I can really comment on in a short response in a public forum. She is D3 eligible, but the recruiting (and scholarship) policies are wildly different from D1. I have one student who has already signed on to a D3 school–with a scholarship, but not for swimming, of course–at the end of her junior year. So the commitments can be made early, if a coach loves the kid (and assuming admissions loves the kid, too). Again, this is very complicated and not something I can really help with. We do work with athletes, and we’re particularly good with swimmers (we have had lots of experience with them, for some reason…!). Let us know if we can provide you more specific guidance.
    Best of luck.

  3. Hi.
    This is a policy that will be determined by the university in question. You need to ask them how firm they are with an 18.
    Best of luck.

  4. Hello, Im currently a varsity lever athlete at a 4-A lever school in south Carolina. Im currently a sophomore. I want to be a college lever wrestler, the school doesnt really matter. I wanted to know if i wrestle throughout high school would it be better to participate in other sports on the varsity level, and if that would look better on my transcript that just sticking to the same sports each year. I have the opportunity to varsity letter in Soccer, Wrestling, Football, Tennis, And Cross Country. Would that be recommended for a better chance at a college accepting me?

  5. Hi, Dakota,
    If you want to be a Division 1 wrestler, you need to put your all into it. You will be competing with kids who really focus on their sport–to the exclusion of all else. However, if you are aiming more for Division 3, then being a multi-sport athlete might be a bonus–especially if you’re good. So it’s hard for me to advise you, as I know nothing about your wrestling capabilities, your body type and shape (it matters in wrestling, especially as you get older), and your academic abilities. I’d advise you to talk to your current coaches and ask their opinions. Make sure they give you their honest assessment of your post-high school prospects, and if they think you’re college scholarship material, they should be help guide you. If later on you need help matching colleges with your sport(s) in a way that gives you the best of both worlds, please give us a shout. Good luck!

  6. Thanks, I want to be an art teacher. I dont have a set college yet. I won JV state my freshman year in wrestling and i Plan to win at Varsity at least 1 time before I graduate. I wrestle at the 170 pound weight class,And as a freshman at varsity I went 14-8. I Have a 3.0 GPA and its going to go up after this year. Im 6ft Tall exactly, Ive been wrestling for 2 years, and really have a passion for the sport. I enjoy playing all sports but wrestling is where my heart is. If these sports would look good on my transcript and help me get into a college Id love to participate in as many as i could. I just dont know if it would help my chances for college to look at me.

  7. Hello. The deal is this: a wrestling coach is looking for a wrestler. So playing other sports may or may not help your wrestling. Certainly they will help you stay in shape, athletically. And there may not be that many opportunities in your area to pursue your sport outside of the competitive season. But the fact that you may be a great basketball or volleyball player will not make you more attractive to coaches. One other thing to keep in mind: it has always been my experience that a great GPA will get you more scholarship money from many colleges than a great athletic ability. And you control your academic performance in ways that you cannot control the academic competition or the capriciousness of coaches. So make sure you focus on that GPA this year…it may be more important than any sport.
    Good luck!

  8. My daughter has recently committed to a Div III school to play lacrosse. It is October of her Senior Year in High School. Because she has verbally committed to a DIII school, does that mean she cannot look at any other schools? What is the commitment level on both the student’s side and the coaches?

  9. Hi.
    Her verbal commitment is just that…a verbal commitment. We don’t like to pull back from our commitments. And yet, since she has not yet started, if she finds a school (and team) she likes better, she is not contractually committed to her present school. It’s okay to “look out for number 1.” But if it looks like she will commit somewhere else, please tell the coach to which she is not committed so she can find another player pronto.
    Best of luck

  10. Thank you for all your wonderful advise! My two sons have been homeschooled due to the poor schools in our area. They have great sports, but lack in the academic area. I have used a great curriculum that has put them far ahead of others their age. Due to this they will start college as dual enrollment next year, as they have fulfilled all high school credits required by the end of spring semester (both have 4.0 GPA). I was planning to have them continue to play at the high school level in sports another year or two due to their age (15 & 16). One is interested in playing College Baseball and has interest in Robotics Engineering. The other plans to enlist in the Naval Academy (as a pilot) after he finishes his bachelors (undecided, but leaning toward avionics engineer). He may want to play football at the collegiate level. Will a college be disinterested in them for sports if they are Juniors at 18? Should I consider limiting their collegiate courses? Should I lean toward one division over another? Thanks again for your advice!

  11. Hello,
    My son is currently in his Senior year. He is a All State lacrosse player. He has 1 D1 school, 2 D2 schools and endless D3 schools interested in him. He has shown interest in a D3 school. They have told him he is the number 1 recruit on their board. My concern is at a D3 school, will they show him a financial package based on his academics only or are there other monies that they can offer him. I have heard from other parents in the past that their son or daughter went to this school for next to nothing because they were a great athletes.

  12. Nick, everything depends on how good a student your son is. Most D3 schools throw most of their financial aid discounts at strong students. If your son is also a strong athlete, he may be able to command more money. But most of the time, a college will not discount heavily for a student with strong athletic skills who does not also excel in the classroom. Only D1 and D2 will do that. If his athletic skills are terrific, and he wants to get a cheap education, then he might want to go D1. But remember: not all D1 schools will offer really big scholarships for sports like lacrosse. He may get a scholarship, but be sure to investigate what this will mean in terms of the entire cost of his education. Even at D1, many parents are woefully disappointed by the small size of scholarships. What most parents of athletes forget is that much more money is available for strong academic performance than is available for strong athletic performance. I hope this is helpful. Good luck!

  13. Hi, Kelley. It’s hard to give you solid advice without understanding more of the particulars. But your questions are good ones. Most colleges that recruit at the highest level want kids for all four years–they can cultivate their athleticism and benefit from it for four years. As youngsters, they aren’t big enough or fast enough yet (probably) to compete with college students. As Juniors at age 18, your students will be considered transfer students, not freshmen. So things become a bit different at that point, both academically and athletically. I’d also point out that the Naval Academy is an undergraduate institution. He cannot go there to become a pilot as a graduate student. He can enlist in the Navy, if he likes, and perhaps he can become a pilot of some sort. But the Academy is for undergraduates. Best of luck, and thanks for writing in.

  14. Hello,My high school senior daughter wants to play D1 softball and I was wondering if their are any universities that may be better suited for her since she wants to study engineering. She has excellent grades and can get into just about any university. Thanks

  15. Hi, Gary. I’m sure there are, indeed, “universities that may be better suited for her.” I’m not sure from your message how to guide you toward those particular schools, but that’s definitely what we do as part of our consultative services for athletes: we ensure that the fit is right both athletically and academically. Feel free to give us a shout if you’d like to explore the possibilities of getting some Great College Advice!. Our number is 720.279.7577.

  16. can a division three baseball player transfer to division one without sitting out a year?

  17. Hi, I am currently in my senior year of high school and im looking to further my educational and athletic careers. I am one of the top students in my graduating class and I currently hold a 3.3 GPA and scored a 20 on the ACT. I have played football for all my life, but my last two years I have been on varsity and while on varsity I helped the team win back to back state titles as well as region titles. My coaches are on the self-centered side and don’t really try to help past football players after the season has ended. I have had numerous contacts with a wide range of D1, D2 and D3 schools. I currently am getting the opportunity from a D3 school, but I have been told that switching from a division 3 school to division 1 for football and academic is very difficult. Im wondering how hard is it switching divisions academically and athletically, and it’s not my main goal just a possibility, is it hard going to the nfl from a d3 school. Another thing is im about 6’3, 255, and run a 6.01 40-time, I bench 265, squat 315, and deadlift 485. I was wondering do i have the size to go D1 or at least switch to a D1 school and I was slotted at offensive tackle on my 1A high school team, but what would be other positions i could look at possibly pursuing. Thanks for reading and helping.

  18. Hello,
    Since this past summer, I have committed to, been accepted at, and enrolled the DIII national champions for 2011 in the sport I play (women’s lacrosse). Part of me feels as though I was swept up in the glamour of the recruiting process and felt pressured to go to a school with a reputable name in the lacrosse community. The more I take time to think to myself, the more I wish I had chosen a division 1 school that maybe isnt consistently in the top 25. I love the sport I play so much and am always itching to play it every day. I have already even started looking at possible places to transfer to (just to keep my options open, I have not contacted any coaches what so ever)… which leads me here with my questions: is it possible to transfer from a division 3 school to a divison 1 school? how common is it? If I don’t transfer, how close will a life as a top tier D3 school compare to that of the life of an athlete at a D1 school? And before you think I am jumping the gun, I do plan to go to the D3 school I committed too for a year just to make sure this is what I want.

  19. Hi Bailey,
    First, congratulations on being successfully recruited to a top-notch team. You should feel very good about what you’ve accomplished. To answer your questions, it is certainly possible to transfer from a DIII school to a DI institution, but it will require a lot of effort in order to do so. You will have to re-market yourself to the DI schools and find those who are open to taking transfers. This may be something that you won’t want to deal with your freshman year as you are adjusting to the college experience overall. You must also ensure that you follow all of the NCAA rules for transferring, and I suggest that you take a look at the NCAA website to find out what the those are. That said, you should give your DIII experience a chance. DIII sports, especially at a school with a top-notch program, can be as competitive as those at many DI schools (albeit not at the most competitive DI institutions). Since you are going to a school with a very successful DIII program, I would bet that they take their lacrosse very seriously, and that you will have a fairly intense and satisfying lacrosse experience. It’s fair to scout out some of your DI alternatives in the event that you won’t be happy at your DIII school, but I’ll bet that once you get to the school where you’re committed, and have the team-bonding experience, you may not want to leave for a DI opportunity.

  20. Hi Stuart,
    As with so many things when it comes to the NCAA rules, the answer to your question is: it depends! A D3 baseball player can transfer to D1 without sitting out a year, however, the athlete has to meet certain criteria and be eligible for an exception. Take a look at the NCAA Transfer Guide which is available online. This should answer your question as it applies to your particular situation. Best of luck!

  21. Hi Bobby,
    I’m glad to hear that you want to continue with your education and your athletics. It is true that it can be difficult to switch from a D3 school to a D1 school. This is primarily because D1 coaches have already filled their rosters with players that they have recruited. You would need to be a real stand-out on your D3 team, keep up your academics in your D3 school (the better your academics the better your chances for a move), and proactively market yourself to the D1 schools so that coaches would be interested in you. That said, it is certainly not impossible, and moves between D3 and D1 certainly do happen.

    As for going to the NFL from a D3 school, that also can happen and there are some examples of this in the NFL, though admittedly, the numbers aren’t huge. In order to be considered for the NFL from a D3 school, you’ll need to have stats that are equal to or better than and be capable of playing against the best players from D1 schools. You’ll need to become eligible and find opportunities to showcase yourself so that you’ll catch the eye of NFL recruiters. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Overall, you should be sure that you are being realistic about whether you are really good enough to compete at the level of the NFL.

    I can’t really comment on whether your size or ability are good enough to play at a D1 school as that would be up to the coaches at each school. Know, however, that there are certainly different levels of play at different D1 schools. Just because a school is D1 does not mean that its team is better than some of the best D3 schools.

  22. I was in talks with elmhurst college a division 3 school my senior year for wrestling. But then my shoulder got injured and I had to have surgery which took me out for 8 months. In that time I enrolled at Central Michigan which is a D1 school. I was practicing with them in the off season last year, but I couldn’t make the walk on’s because my shoulder was still healing. This year as a sophomore I asked if I could finally walk on. The coach recognized me but told me unfortunately due to gender caps they filled there quota and have been turning away many other wrestlers. I told this to my dad one day and he said that he had actually been talking to someone from elmhurst and they said that if I keep my grades up they’d accept me on the team. Right now I’m keeping in shape by running, lifting and doing judo since there’s no wrestling club. And my high school coach is helping me out to when I’m back home. I don’t want to quit wrestling so I am transferring next semester and I hope to make the team. Is this possible though. I know it’s division 3 but we live in the real world and they have standards as well. I lettered all 4 years in high school placed twice at FAWA states and was a training partner for the colombian national team. But I haven’t compete in about a year and a half. So still do I have a chance? And am I on the right road to get to my goal?

  23. Daniel,

    It certainly sounds like you are on the right road, but it is nearly impossible for us to comment on your abilities as a wrestler or whether or not you will make the team at Elmhurst. I would just make sure you keep communicating with the Elmhurst coach and explore other options- just in case.


    Katherine Price
    Senior Associate

  24. I have kid who was all-state in football his senior year but got some bad guidance and didn’t get much attention. He ended up walking on at pretty good Div 1 football program and they red-shirted him. However, he didn’t feel he was going to get a good shot and the head coach just left and he wants to play versus sit. He’s since transferred to a DIII school and immediately got a starting position and in the first two weeks/games has been all-rookie defensive player of the week for the conference and is 3rd in tackles.

    The questions:

    1) If he continues to perform at such a high level and keeps his grades up, what are the odds he can play at a higher level where he can get a scholarship (Div II, IAA, etc)?

    2) If possible, what should he be doing to increase his chances?


  25. Ken,
    I’m glad your son has been able to play at the DIII level. It can be difficult to switch from a DIII school to a DII school or higher because those coaches have already filled their rosters with players they have recruited. Your son would really need to stand out on his DIII team (which it sounds like he’s doing so far), get good grades at his current school (the higher his grades, the better his chances of transferring to a higher division), and really market himself to the schools he’s interested in so that coaches will be interested in him. This can be very time-consuming. What your son needs to decide is how much time and effort he’s willing to invest in trying to transfer and play at a higher level. Additionally, if he transfers again, he will have been at three different colleges, which can be very disruptive to his academic and social life. I hope that helps.

  26. Sara,

    Thanks for your quick reply and for the info. Very helpful. One more question:

    1. If he does transfer to a DI or DII school – would he have to sit out a year? If so, are there exceptions? (He was redshirted at the first School (Major Div 1) but is obviously playing at his current Div III school).

    He is just looking at the alternatives right now. Given he walked on to a major D1 program as a freshman, he is comfortable that he can play at that level and definitely at the DII level. DIII seems to be a bit easy for him (as indicated by the immediate recognition/awards for his performance) and he is looking for more of a challenge (and a possible scholarship to help pay for college). As he is not my actual son – I’m not pushing him either way – just trying to get him info so he can make an educated decision.

  27. Kent,
    The NCAA has very specific, sometimes complicated, and often-changing rules around the eligibility of transfer students from one division to another. It sounds like your student has a lot to consider. I recommend contacting the NCAA directly with your student’s questions and issues. The NCAA publishes an annual guide specifically for transfer students which could also help give you more specifics about the rules and regulations surrounding a move from a D3 school. Best of luck as you assist this young man in his quest for the right playing environment!

  28. Can an athlete transfer as a senior to a Division III school while (1) having not played at a JC recently (they are 23 years old) and (2) if they are not officially enrolled in the current school with actual classes until the Spring semester (this after having played numerous conference games to date)? …

  29. Hi Suzanne,

    The NCAA has very specific, sometimes complicated, and often-changing rules around the eligibility of transfer students. I’m not entirely clear on what your situation is, so I recommend contacting the NCAA directly with your questions and issues. The NCAA publishes an annual guide specifically for transfer students which could also help give you more specifics about the rules and regulations surrounding a move to a D3 school. Here is a link to the latest for 2012-2013: Best of luck to you!

    Andrea Aronson

  30. Hello sir, how are you?. Well i have a question about JC attendance policies. I have a liitle story to tell so u know the cricumstances. Well I am a former athlete and Baseball was my passion. My senior yr of HS I was the 38th rnd draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays organization. I was a draft and follow to be exact, Meaning that the Jays were interested in me but they wanted to see how i performed on a diff level. So i chose to attend Hillsborough JC in Tampa Fl. I had a great fall earning an athletic scholarship and the Jays were at practices and scrimmage games. I passed all my courses making me eligible to participate in the Spring. I was well on my way to a contract and an unkown signing bonus amount. Spring ball starts its the first 2 weeks of the spring semester. I had a course that started at 1 pm and lasted an hour or so. This class was cutting it close for me to be late to practice so i didnt attend the first 2 weeks. it was 8 games into the spring when my coach appraoches me and tells me that their is a problem with my academics and I was Dropped out of this particular course. This took my credits below 12 so i had to pick up a course quickly to make me eligible to play spring ball. From my understanding students on an Athletic scholarship must have 12 or more credits to stay eligible to play. So that very day I picked up a computer course giving me the one credit i needed. We have a ball game in West palm beach the next day.. The worst day of my life emerged when i showed up to our team locker room and coach calls me in the office . He is with the athletic director and he tells me the news that terrified me!!!! He tells me that since i went under the 12 credits even for one day that i am no longer eligible to play the rest of the season losing my scholarship and a full yr of eligibility. My dream come true collapses and Im left on my own . I was so scared that i never told my parents what happened, i figured i would call my scout that helped me get drafted, he says well u really screwed up and that he will get me a individual tryout for the Jays. I had never heard from him since. Im sorry for the long story but I want to know if there was anything that i could have done to appeal this and do u think this was a harsh punishment . I was never asked anything or given a warning shot about my attendance. I attended all my classes from fall to spring accept that one course about 4 classes. I was an 18 yr old kid and i had no idea that i had a right to appeal this issue. Im still upset about this and i always will be!!!! tx for ur time i really appreciate ur time and attention..

  31. Thanks for your comment, Tyrone. It is a cautionary tale about how universities work, and how vital it is that students understand the rules and procedures and requirements. You made an assumption that attending class was “no big deal,” when in fact it cost you a great deal, both in money and in unrealized dreams. It’s too bad that your university and your coaches did not provide you with more guidance: you might have been able to avoid this situation had someone been helping to ensure that you were abiding by the eligibility requirements.
    Best of luck to you.

  32. Our daughter is a 9th grader who has been playing for the varsity high school tennis team since 6th grade (charter school). Conservative estimates, from her coaches, put her at about a 4 star athlete by her junior year in HS … certainly strong enough for some D-I and virtually all D-III schools.

    Academically, she’s doing well too with plans of taking the most stringent course load available at her HS. She’s currently top in her graduating class. Her dream has always been to attend a top institution for undergraduate studies. And, although she would like to play college tennis, we are proud that she has prioritized education before athletics.

    The more that I learn about the demands of a student-athlete at a Div-I school, the more I gravitate towards D-III for her (currently looking for top non-LAC schools with warmer climates) if at all possible.

    Regarding our financial position, we bought into our state’s prepaid college plan, when our daughter was small, but don’t have much in savings. She’s expressed an interest in the medical field requiring a post-secondary education and tuition that we currently can’t afford.

    So my questions are as follows:

    (1) Based on her profile and current path, assuming I can defer the escrow prepaid college funds to grad/medical school (not sure have to check on this), how do I go about finding Div-III schools that would extend the best merit-aid package available? Should we primarily focus our attention on universities that meet full financial need (e.i. Emory, Cal Tech, Wash Univ STL) or might her profile suggest significant merit-based institutional aid offsetting this concern and broadening her search?

    (2) How and when should she reach out to perspective Div-III schools? Is the first point of contact the team’s head coach or an admissions officer? And as she is still young and not a 4-star player yet, is there a negative impact to putting her on a coach’s radar this early?

    (3) If it is advantageous to initiate contact at this early stage, what typically is protocol for maintaining these lines of communication over the next four years? Would it be evident if a coach’s interest has waned?

    (4) Are you a proponent of student-athletes expressing interest and contacting an inordinate amount of schools or focusing on a list of likely candidates?

    Thank you for your help.

  33. Hello Mark,
    My daughter is in eighth grade and I am in the process of looking for an academic advisor to help her plan for high school and ultimately college. My daughter is a gifted student but not in a gifted program. She enjoys working in the media class at school and has done the news at school for two years now. She has never received anything lower than an A her entire academic career and took part in the SAT’s through the Duke Tip program. She earned a score of 1880 on that. She is a swimmer, and she swims year round. Her best race is the 200 fly. I am very interested in ANY advice you could provide for Alyssa as well as advice in finding the right academic advisor. Thank you for your time. L. A.

  34. Hello, L. A.,
    Thank you for your comment. Perhaps it might be helpful to schedule a phone appointment so that I can learn more and perhaps offer some of the advice you seek regarding finding the right academic advisor.
    Best regards,
    Mark Montgomery

  35. Dear Barry,
    Thanks for your comment and your questions. Answering them in detail would lie outside the scope of the comments, because it seems you need very customized advice. Calibrating the sport, the academics, and the finances is a delicate business, and really depends a lot on her talents (academic and athletic) and your pocket book. I can tell you that more money is available out there for academic merit than athletic merit, even though this is not the assumption in sports-crazy America. My best recommendation, given the nature of your questions, is to have a telephone conversation. Feel free to give me a call.

  36. Hi,
    I am hoping to get some insight from someone who clearly knows the ropes better than this frustrated mom from MD.
    Here is the situation, my son was recruited to play high school ball and started every game all four years. Helping to take this unknown team to the championship twice during his tenure. Obviously a “big man on campus”, he is a very humble guy and was exstatic when he committed to a local D1 program. During out recruiting visit, we were told many “glowing” statements, most of which have not turned out to be true. They have now played eight games into their 2014 season and my 6’2″, left-handed, two way player has yet to step onto the diamond. He is just crushed and doesn’t understand why he can’t play. I have to add the current w/l record is 1-7!!!!. He is a tremendous hitter but not being used. There are four freshmen on this team, one was told straight up to red shirt, one was told he won’t play till next year, and one is a standout Bryce Harper caliber player. Keeping in mind we chose this school because he was told he would have playing time. Can you help me wrap my head around why they would be doing this. There is not an academic, attendance, practice or attitude problem at all. Is it a form of hazing? He is already beginning to feel defeated and not “good” enough. I am just sick thinking we worked so hard to get D1 and it may have been a huge mistake. 🙁
    Any insight would be appreciated so much!!!

  37. Dear Kelly,
    I don’t have many insights, except to say that this story is more common than you might imagine. Coaches have their own logic for their decisions, and when it comes to D1, coaches are unquestionably always right. At least in their own minds. All I can say is that the coach has his own reasons for not playing your son.
    The question then becomes what does your son want to do about it? Is he aiming for the major leagues? Or is he using his athletic ability to get himself the best education possible? If the latter, then he should take his skills to another school that appreciates him more–and that will offer him that outstanding education in return. I understand that your son is disappointed he cannot play. So what’s the end game? What’s the objective–other than playing time. I have helped several athletes in this situation, and I’d be happy to try to help your son make a move to a school that will help him reach ALL his goals. Let me know if I can be of service.

  38. My son is prospect soccer player for a few D I and D III schools. Over the last year, he has definitely become more interested in the D III schools because of the education program they have for his intended major . . . Question, since there is no National Letter of Intent for D III, how do you know that a D III coach wants you to apply so you can play for the school?

  39. We have a son who plays Div. III college baseball as a freshman. He is a pitcher only and has not thrown any Varsity innings to date. However, he has thrown several junior varsity games for the school. We have researched the NCAA websites and others to see if playing only on a JV squad will use up one of his 4 years of playing time at the college level. Do you know the answer for our question or can you direct us to where we might find out?
    Also, if he plays 4 years of Div. III college baseball but is a 5 year student, are there any circumstances that he is eligible to play another sport during his 5th year?
    Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

  40. Hi, George,
    Coaches will tell your son that they want him. Because D3 coaches are not subject to the all the same restrictions as D1 coaches, there can be a lot more back and forth communication earlier in the process. But realize that because there is no “contract,” the student and family has to be listen very careful to what the coach is saying: most kids hear what they want to hear. Usually this recruiting process works out fine and is very clear. However, I’ve seen some kids get burned by being “recruited” and therefore accepted to their preferred school, only to find upon arrival that they must try out for the team with all the dozens of other new recruits–and then be cut from the team after paying tuition, committing to this school, and losing out on recruitment offers at other schools. Again, usually there is plenty of clarity. But be careful. I work with a lot of students headed to D3 schools. Let me know if I can be helpful.

  41. Mr. Montgomery,
    Thank you so much for your input and advise. Our family is so new to this and we’re doing our best to steer our son in the right direction. If it gets “complicated” as we proceed, I definitely may contact you again. . . . thanks for leaving the door open

  42. Hi, Sammy.
    I’m not absolutely sure of the answer to your question. The NCAA rules are sometimes a bit different depending on the sport. I suggest you just contact the NCAA directly through their website or by phone. They are pretty great about answering questions of this type. Best regards,

  43. You’re very welcome. Glad you found the advice helpful. Best of luck!

  44. Hi, Im a junior currently play Soccer for Club and High school but my school team isn’t the greatest. I really would love to play D1 or D2 Soccer although i don’t think I’m at that level yet. Going into my senior year if i dont get any looks from schools what should i do upon applying to colleges ? I have a 3.5 GPa which should help me out a lot in terms of attracting good schools academically. A lot of advice would be gladly appreciated on both academic and Sport situations


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