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Main logo used by the NCAA in Division I, II, and III.
Division III (or DIII) is a division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the United Statesmarker.


The division consists of colleges and universities that choose not to offer athletically related financial aid (athletic scholarships) to their student-athletes. There are 449 member institutions (both full and provisional), making Division III (D-III) the largest of the three divisions sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

D-III schools range in size from less than 500 to over 10,000 students. D-III schools compete in athletics as a non-revenue making, extracurricular activity for students; hence, they may not offer athletic scholarships, they may not redshirt freshmen and they may not use endowments or funds whose primary purpose is to benefit their athletic programs.

All Division III schools must field athletes in at least ten sports, with male and female competition in a given sport counting as two different sports. In 2012, schools must field athletes in at least twelve sports (and a minimum of six in each gender); if they have more than 1,000 undergraduates; otherwise, they still must field at least five sports in each gender.

Conferences competing in Division III

:*Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
:*American Southwest Conference*
:*Atlantic Central Football Conference*
:*Capital Athletic Conference
:*Centennial Conference*
:*City University of New York Athletic Conference
:*College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin*
:*Colonial States Athletic Conference
:*Commonwealth Coast Conference
:*Empire 8 Conference*
:*Great South Athletic Conference
:*Great Northeast Athletic Conference
:*Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference*
:*Illini-Badger Football Conference*
:*Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference*
:*Landmark Conference
:*Liberty League*
:*Little East Conference
:*Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference
:*Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association*
:*Middle Atlantic Conference*
:*Midwest Conference*
:*Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference*
:*New England Collegiate Conference
:*New England Football Conference*
:*New England Small College Athletic Conference*
:*New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
:*New Jersey Athletic Conference*
:*North Atlantic Conference
:*North Coast Athletic Conference*
:*North Eastern Athletic Conference
:*Northern Athletics Conference*
:*Northwest Conference*
:*Ohio Athletic Conference*
:*Old Dominion Athletic Conference*
:*Presidents' Athletic Conference*
:*St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference*
:*Skyline Conference
:*Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference*
:*Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference*
:*State University of New York Athletic Conference
:*USA South Athletic Conference*
:*University Athletic Association*
:*Upper Midwest Athletic Conference*
:*Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference*

^ Conferences that sponsor football.

Division III schools with Division I programs

Twelve D-III schools currently play up to the Division I level in one or two sports (one for each gender maximum).

Seven of them are grandfathered schools which have traditionally competed at the highest level of a particular sport prior to the institution of the Division classifications in 1971. These schools are allowed to offer athletic scholarships in their Division I sports to remain competitive with their opponents.

(SUNY Oneontamarker was previously grandfathered in men's soccer but dropped down to Division III in 2006.)

The other five schools choose to play up in one sport for men and optionally one sport for women, but they are not grandfathered and thus are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships. Academic-based and need-based financial aid is still available.

Football and basketball may not be grandfathered Division I programs because their revenue-enhancing potential would give them an unfair advantage over other Division III schools. In 1992, several Division III schools who competed at the Division I level in basketball, most notably Georgetown Universitymarker, were forced to upgrade the rest of their athletic program to a Division I level.

The NCAA currently has a moratorium in place on schools moving divisions, including Division III schools playing up to Division I.

Recent changes

In 2003, concerned about the direction of the Division, the Division III Presidents' Council, led by Middlebury Collegemarker President John McCardell, acted to limit the length of the traditional and non-traditional seasons, eliminate redshirting, and redefine a season of participation, all of which were approved by a majority vote of the membership.

An additional proposal which would have eliminated the ability of the institutions listed above to offer athletic scholarships was rejected, though rules limiting the exception to only those schools currently offering D-I programs was approved. These actions took place at the January 2004 NCAA Convention.


  2. USCHO: Scholarships Will Continue For D-III 'Play Up' Schools
  3. College Sporting News: NCAA Division I Board Enacts Four-Year Moratorium on Accepting New Members

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