Division 2 Athletics and Scholarships: What You Need to Know

Division 2 Athletics and Scholarships: What You Need to Know

When it comes to college athletics, scholarships play a crucial role in attracting talented athletes and building successful sports programs. While Division 1 schools are well-known for their athletic scholarships, there is often confusion surrounding Division 2 and its ability to offer financial aid to student-athletes. In this article, we will explore the rules and regulations surrounding Division 2 athletic scholarships, the benefits they provide, and the impact they have on student-athletes.

Understanding Division 2 Athletics

Division 2 is one of the three divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), alongside Division 1 and Division 3. It consists of smaller schools with fewer resources compared to Division 1 institutions. Division 2 schools are known for their commitment to a well-rounded student-athlete experience, emphasizing both academics and athletics.

While Division 2 schools may not have the same level of visibility and media coverage as Division 1, they still offer competitive athletic programs across a wide range of sports. Division 2 schools often have dedicated coaching staff, state-of-the-art facilities, and a strong focus on the development of their student-athletes.

The Division 2 Scholarship Model

Contrary to popular belief, Division 2 schools are indeed able to offer athletic scholarships to student-athletes. However, the scholarship model in Division 2 differs from that of Division 1. Division 2 schools have a limited number of full scholarships available for each sport, and they also have the option to divide those scholarships into partial scholarships.

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According to the NCAA, Division 2 schools can offer a maximum of 36 full scholarships per sport. This means that if a sport has a roster size of 20 athletes, the coach can divide those 36 scholarships among the players, offering a combination of full and partial scholarships. This flexibility allows Division 2 schools to distribute their scholarship funds more evenly and support a larger number of student-athletes.

The Benefits of Division 2 Athletic Scholarships

While Division 2 athletic scholarships may not cover the full cost of attendance like in Division 1, they still provide significant benefits to student-athletes. Here are some key advantages:

  • Financial Assistance: Division 2 athletic scholarships can help offset the cost of tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other educational expenses. This financial assistance can make college more affordable for student-athletes and their families.
  • Opportunity to Compete: Division 2 scholarships provide student-athletes with the opportunity to compete at a high level while pursuing their education. They can represent their school in intercollegiate competitions and gain valuable experience and exposure.
  • Access to Resources: Division 2 schools often have excellent athletic facilities, coaching staff, and support services for student-athletes. Scholarships can grant student-athletes access to these resources, enhancing their training and development.
  • Academic Support: Division 2 schools prioritize the academic success of their student-athletes. Scholarships often come with academic support programs, tutoring services, and study halls to ensure that student-athletes can balance their athletic and academic responsibilities.

Case Studies: Division 2 Athletic Scholarships in Action

Let’s take a look at a couple of case studies to understand how Division 2 athletic scholarships have made a difference in the lives of student-athletes:

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Case Study 1: Soccer Scholarship at a Division 2 School

Emily, a talented soccer player, received a partial athletic scholarship to a Division 2 school. While the scholarship did not cover the full cost of attendance, it significantly reduced her financial burden. Emily was able to focus on her studies and soccer without worrying about working multiple jobs or taking out excessive student loans. The scholarship also provided her with access to top-notch coaching, training facilities, and academic support services, allowing her to excel both on and off the field.

Case Study 2: Basketball Scholarship at a Division 2 School

John, a highly skilled basketball player, received a full athletic scholarship to a Division 2 school. The scholarship covered his tuition, room and board, and other educational expenses. John’s family, who would have struggled to afford college otherwise, was relieved by the financial assistance. The scholarship also gave John the opportunity to compete at a high level and showcase his talent to potential professional scouts. He received excellent coaching and had access to state-of-the-art training facilities, which contributed to his growth as a player.

The Impact on Student-Athletes

Division 2 athletic scholarships have a significant impact on the lives of student-athletes. They provide opportunities for talented athletes who may not have received full scholarships at Division 1 schools. These scholarships enable student-athletes to pursue their passion for sports while obtaining a quality education.

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Moreover, Division 2 scholarships promote a healthy balance between academics and athletics. Student-athletes are encouraged to excel in the classroom and are provided with the necessary support to succeed academically. This emphasis on holistic development prepares student-athletes for life beyond college sports, equipping them with valuable skills and experiences.


Contrary to common misconceptions, Division 2 schools can offer athletic scholarships to student-athletes. While the scholarship model differs from Division 1, Division 2 scholarships provide significant benefits, including financial assistance, the opportunity to compete at a high level, access to resources, and academic support. These scholarships have a positive impact on student-athletes, allowing them to pursue their athletic dreams while obtaining a quality education. Division 2 athletic scholarships play a vital role in building successful sports programs and attracting talented athletes to smaller schools.

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