Special from Division III Tennis
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Currently, there are so many tools and services available to help parents and players successfully navigate the recruiting process. While these are all wonderful methods for finding the right school for each player, I believe a large group of schools may sometimes be overlooked when many top juniors look at college. Those would be the 300+ programs that make up NCAA Division III. Today, I'll discuss why Division III can be a great option for American juniors all the way from 1 to 5 stars, boys and girls alike.
I'm a big believer in statistics, so let me start by providing three sets of statistics that briefly highlight Division III tennis.
To begin, I looked at 4- and 5- star players in the classes of 2006 and 2007. Among these players, 242 went to Division I from high school and 30 went to Division III. Of those 242 to D-I, only 134 consistently started for their team, 86 played in the NCAA tournament and 68 have either transferred schools or quit the team. Of the 30 who went to Division III, 27 consistently start for their team, 23 have played in the NCAA tournament and 5 transferred or quit the team.
To get a larger sample size of D-III, I looked at 3-, 4- and 5- star players who went D-III in the classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008. There are 133 total players in this category. Of those 133, 94 consistently start for their team, 80 have played in the NCAA tournament and only 17 have transferred schools or quit the team.
My last statistic is a demographic of D-III. I looked at the top 6 singles players on each of the top 20 teams in Division III. The breakdown is as follows.
- 5 stars: 2
- 4 stars: 39
- 3 stars: 40
- 2 stars: 19
- 0 or 1 star: 10
- International: 10
I will also mention that there are 9 kids in this breakdown who transferred from Division I.
So what does all of this mean? Typically, when junior tennis players think of Division III, they think of strong academics and not-so-strong tennis. The former is definitely true. If you look the top 75 National Universities and the top 75 Liberal Arts Colleges according US News and World Report, nearly half of them compete in NCAA Division III tennis. When choosing Division III, players will definitely be able to get a great education - but they will also be able to play top notch tennis.
A great part about D-III is the variety among programs. If a player wishes to train 3-4 hours a day, the opportunity is there to do so. If a player needs to miss practice for an academic conflict, that is also extremely acceptable. D-III typically doesn't mirror the rigid practice schedules of D-I, and there is a lot more flexibility when it comes to athletics.