Are You Misunderstanding Level of Play?

There are many stigma’s about level of play floating around the sports world, and it is easy to misunderstand what each college level presents in opportunities for student-athletes.

There are many levels of play, from NCAA divisions to NAIA divisions to junior college divisions. Each governing body (i.e. NCAA, NAIA, etc) has different levels within. The more information you have about the different levels, the better your decision-making will be.

Different levels of college sports:

  • NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association – Governs college activity in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III.
  • NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics – Governs college activity in NAIA colleges.
  • NJCAA – National Junior College Athletic Association – Governs college activity in junior colleges.

More options: 

Find My Team’s mission is to help each and every individual find the right fit in a college experience. One major factor in understanding college fit is being educated on level-of-play.

Smiling female athlete in black workout gear jumping rope

A Major Mistake

One of the main issues regarding the recruiting process is that student-athletes chase a level instead of finding fit in a college experience. This is a key mistake student-athletes make, and, many times, it leads to even more mistakes in decision-making during the recruiting process.

For example, some student-athletes, parents, and coaches will just focus on Division I colleges because those schools garnish the most attention. However, there are some Division II and III colleges, some NAIA colleges, and some Junior Colleges that win year in and year out, have major crowds following them, play in exceptional facilities, and are winning National Championships! Some of them even produce professional athletes.

So make sure that you’re chasing fit over level-of-play. Doing so will make a difference in you thriving and enjoying your academic and sports career more than you could even imagine.

Two smiling female athletes celebrating a workout and each other

Tips for Navigating Level-of-Play

Avoid the Stigmas 

Recruiting is not about finding the highest level or the most wins or the best bling in a college. It’s more important that you find a fit in the university, the coaching staff, and your future team. Make this a priority! Avoid the stigma that assumes Division I is the only “good” level of play.

Make the Process Your own

You drive it. No one else can, or should, do that work for you. If you invest the time and energy in your own recruiting process, you WILL discover your true level-of-play and will have a better chance of finding the right fit while landing at a college you will truly appreciate and be happy at.

Figure out Who You Are and What You Want

Learn “you” first!  Become self-aware, and your decisions will be easier. Find My Team has experts to help you figure out who you are and what you want.

Learn as Much as You Can

Learn about each level. There are differences in the opportunities that each level presents. Make sure those differences match your wants, needs, and goals.

Do Your Own Homework

It will take some time and energy, but doing your own work will help you find out exactly what you are getting into as you narrow down and choose colleges at the level that you think is right for you.

Be Careful Who You Trust and Listen To

Many people will have an opinion as to where you should go and what level you should play at. Be careful who you listen to, and make sure, above all, that you are listening to yourself and those you trust. It matters.

Make Your Journey About More Than Just Level-of-Play

So much goes into your overall success and happiness at college. It goes well beyond the sport you play and the level you choose. If you start the recruiting process with that in mind, you have a better chance of actually finding that place where you will thrive.

Female student athlete with headphones and water bottle waiving to teammates in gym

At the End of the Day

What really matters to you? There is an important distinction between truly enjoying college versus just choosing a college for a perceived level of play. You deserve to find happiness in that college choice. Those student-athletes that do find that fit truly can and do thrive in college.

Find a level of play where you can grow as a person, student, and athlete. That will be your ultimate success story.

Share to