News & Features
Why Division II?
by Peter Green, 24 September 2013
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Many people think of NCAA Division II athletics as a stepping stone that schools take when they want become Division I programs, but Division II is much more than that.
First of all, what are the requirements for a school to be D-II? They have to support a minimum of 10 sports, including at least four men's programs and at least five women's programs. Students must take 16 core courses - it was 14 core course until this year - and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. 
For years, colleges and universities in Division II were defined by what they were not. They were not Division I - with its outsized athletic budgets and national news media attention. They were not Division III - with its reputation for rigorous academics and a ban on athletic scholarships.
"We didn't know who we were," said Chuck Ambrose, the president of Pfeiffer University in North Carolina and a former chairman of the Division II Presidents Council. "We didn't know where we were headed. We suffered from a middle-child syndrome." 
The Division II emphasis is on balance, with the objective of providing student-athletes a comprehensive program of learning and development. Student-athletes are encouraged to achieve excellence in their sport, in the classroom and in their community. 
Very few of the 100,000 NCAA student-athletes competing at the 300 Division II schools in the United States and Canada receive a full athletics grant that covers all of their expenses, but most of them will receive some financial aid to help them through school. 
Division II's philosophy calls for a comprehensive program of learning and development in a personal setting. Division II provides growth opportunities through academic achievement, learning in high-level athletics competition and development of societal attitudes in service to community. The balance and integration of these different areas of learning opportunity provide Division II student-athletes with a path to graduation while also cultivating a variety of skills and knowledge for life ahead. 
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