Can d2 schools offer athletic scholarships?

Can d2 schools offer athletic scholarships

When it comes to college athletics, scholarships play a crucial role in attracting talented athletes and building successful sports programs. While most people are familiar with Division I schools and their ability to offer athletic scholarships, there is often confusion surrounding Division II schools. Can D2 schools offer athletic scholarships? In this article, we will explore the rules and regulations surrounding athletic scholarships at the Division II level and shed light on the opportunities available for student-athletes.

Understanding Division II Athletics

Before diving into the topic of athletic scholarships, it is important to have a clear understanding of Division II athletics. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the governing body for college sports in the United States, and it is divided into three divisions: Division I, Division II, and Division III.

Division II schools are typically smaller than their Division I counterparts and offer a more balanced approach to athletics and academics. These schools often prioritize the overall student-athlete experience, focusing on both athletic and academic success. Division II schools are known for their competitive sports programs and provide opportunities for athletes to compete at a high level while also receiving a quality education.

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The NCAA Division II Scholarship Model

Unlike Division I schools, which can offer full athletic scholarships, Division II schools operate under a different scholarship model. The NCAA Division II scholarship model allows schools to offer athletic scholarships, but they are typically partial scholarships rather than full rides.

Division II schools have a limited number of scholarships available for each sport, and these scholarships can be divided among multiple athletes. For example, a men’s basketball team may have 10 scholarships available, but those scholarships can be divided among 15 or 20 players. This allows schools to spread their scholarship funds across more athletes and create a more equitable distribution of financial aid.

It is important to note that not all Division II schools offer athletic scholarships. Some schools choose to focus on academic scholarships or need-based financial aid instead. However, many Division II schools do offer athletic scholarships as a way to attract talented athletes and build competitive sports programs.

Division II Scholarship Limits

While Division II schools can offer athletic scholarships, there are limits to the number of scholarships they can provide. The NCAA sets scholarship limits for each sport, and schools must adhere to these limits to maintain compliance.

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The scholarship limits vary by sport and are based on factors such as the number of participants, the level of competition, and the financial resources of the school. For example, a Division II football team is allowed to offer up to 36 scholarships, while a women’s soccer team is limited to 9. These limits ensure that schools are not able to gain a competitive advantage by offering an excessive number of scholarships.

Case Study: Grand Valley State University

To better understand how Division II athletic scholarships work in practice, let’s take a look at a case study of Grand Valley State University (GVSU). GVSU is a highly successful Division II school located in Allendale, Michigan, known for its strong athletic programs.

GVSU offers athletic scholarships across a range of sports, including football, basketball, soccer, and track and field. The university has a total of 20 sports teams, each with a different number of scholarships available.

For example, the GVSU football team has a total of 36 scholarships to divide among its players. These scholarships can be divided among both incoming freshmen and returning players. The coaching staff at GVSU carefully evaluates the talent and potential of each athlete and determines the scholarship amount they will receive.

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Similarly, the GVSU women’s soccer team has 9 scholarships available. These scholarships are divided among the players based on their skill level and contribution to the team. The coaching staff at GVSU works closely with the admissions and financial aid offices to ensure that the athletes receive the appropriate amount of financial assistance.

Benefits of Division II Athletic Scholarships

While Division II athletic scholarships may not cover the full cost of attendance like Division I scholarships, they still offer significant benefits to student-athletes. Here are some of the key advantages of Division II athletic scholarships:

  • Financial Assistance: Athletic scholarships help offset the cost of tuition, room and board, and other expenses, making college more affordable for student-athletes.
  • Opportunity to Compete: Division II scholarships provide athletes with the opportunity to compete at a high level and showcase their skills on a national stage.
  • Access to Resources: Student-athletes at Division II schools have access to top-notch coaching, training facilities, and academic support services.
  • Balanced Lifestyle: Division II schools prioritize the overall well-being of student-athletes, allowing them to excel both on the field and in the classroom.


While Division II schools may not offer full athletic scholarships like their Division I counterparts, they do provide valuable athletic scholarships that help student-athletes pursue their passion for sports while receiving a quality education. The NCAA Division II scholarship model allows schools to offer partial scholarships to a limited number of athletes, ensuring a fair distribution of financial aid. Division II athletic scholarships offer numerous benefits, including financial assistance, competitive opportunities, access to resources, and a balanced lifestyle. So, if you are a talented athlete looking to compete at the collegiate level, don’t overlook the opportunities available at Division II schools.

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