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Main logo used by the NCAA in Division I, II, and III.
Division II (or DII) is an intermediate-level division of competition in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It offers an alternative to both the highly competitive (and highly expensive) level of intercollegiate sports offered in NCAA Division I and to the non-scholarship level offered in Division III. It was formerly called the NCAA College Division.

Nationally, ESPN televises the football championship game, CBS televises the men's basketball championship, and ESPN2 televises the women's basketball championship. CBS College Sports broadcasts six Football games on Thursdays during the regular season.


Division II schools tend to be smaller public universities and many private institutions. Athletic scholarships are offered in most sponsored sports at most institutions, but with more stringent limits as to the numbers offered in any one sport than at the Division I level. For example, Division II schools may give up to 36 football scholarships (whereas Division I FBS, the highest level, is allowed 85 football scholarships), although some Division II conferences limit the number of scholarships to a lower level. Division II scholarship programs are frequently the recipients of student-athletes transferring from Division I schools; a transfer student does not have to sit out a year before resuming sports participation as would be the case in the event of transferring from one Division I institution to another (with the exception of football players transferring from a Division I FBS school to a Division I FCS school, who also do not have to sit out a year). Currently there are 282 either full or provisional members of Division II.

All Division II schools must field athletes in at least ten sports, with male and female competition in a given sport counting as two different sports. In addition, all coeducational schools must field athletes in at least four sports in each gender. Simon Fraser Universitymarker became the first institution outside the United States to enter the NCAA membership process. This occurred after the Division II Membership Committee accepted the institution’s application during a July 7-9 meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. Simon Fraser, located in Burnaby, British Columbiamarker, began a two-year candidacy period September 1, 2009. Prospective members also must complete at least one year of provisional status before being accepted as full-time Division II members, meaning the Canadian institution could become an active Division II member by fall 2012.

Division II Independent Schools

NCAA Division II conferences

^ Conferences that sponsor football

Interaction with other divisions

The NCAA does not strictly prevent its member institutions from playing outside of their own division, or indeed playing against schools that are not members of the NCAA. Division II schools often compete against Division I, Division III or even the NAIA.


Many Division II schools frequently schedule matches against members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, which specializes primarily in smaller institutions and is something of a rival collegiate sports sanctioning authority to the NCAA.

Division I

Division II schools also frequently schedule "money games", usually men's basketball games, against Division I schools, particularly lesser-known ones, early in the season in which they are almost invariably the visiting team and are invited to play with the almost-certain knowledge that they will be defeated but will receive a substantial (at least by Division II standards) monetary reward which will help to finance much of the rest of the season and perhaps other sports as well.

Non-revenue sports competition

Matches between the three divisions in non-revenue sports are often quite competitive; the difference in the level of competition between the two divisions is often considerably less in these sports than it is in football and men's or women's basketball. Indeed, in some sports, among them ice hockey and men's volleyball, there is no Division II competition. In hockey, many schools whose athletic programs are otherwise Division II compete in Division I or Division III, while in men's volleyball, which has no NCAA-sanctioned divisional structure, Division II members are allowed to award the same number of scholarships as Division I members.

Pressure to move to Division I or III

The viability of Division II as an ongoing operation in the medium-to-long term is frequently called into question; it is noted that these institutions' athletics programs share many of the major expenses of their Division I counterparts, with regard especially to scholarships. At the same time, however, Division II programs generally receive far smaller gate receipts and almost no television revenue, similar to non-scholarship institutions classified as Division III. As such, an increasing number of Division II schools are under pressure from administrators, boosters, and other interested parties either to "step up" to Division I or "step down" to Division III. As a result of this, the NCAA has adopted rules which tend to make it harder for new institutions to join Division I, such as minimum attendance requirements for football and a long waiting period (now eight years) before a new Division I institution can participate in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament ("March Madness") or share in its considerable revenues.



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