dispelling the common misconception that athletics lower an
institution’s academic integrity. In fact, student-athletes are
less likely to be found at the bottom of the academic profile
than non-athletes and student-athlete grade point averages
(GPAs) are traditionally higher than non-athlete GPAs.
While female students typically have higher academic
profiles than their male counterparts, the study demonstrates
that female athletics scholarship recipients also have higher
academic standing than female non-athletes. At DII institutions, the phrase student-athlete truly describes the athletes
The NCAA heavily emphasizes increased diversity among
student-athletes, coaches, and athletics program administrators, which aligns with the diversity objectives of most
higher education institutions. Athletics programs can play an
important role in increasing diversity on college campuses.
The study shows that athletics scholarships increase both the
geographic and ethnic diversity of new students. According
to the study, 20 percent of athletics scholarship recipients are
minorities, which was a higher minority percentage than
non-athletics scholarship recipients who attend DII institutions. As SSAOs coordinate efforts with admissions and
enrollment management to expand student ethnic and geographic diversity, intercollegiate athletics is a critical component in achieving diversity objectives.
Many colleges and universities are struggling to equalize the
male-to-female ratio of students on campus. Athletics scholarships can help increase the number of new male students.
In 15 of the 18 institutions examined, male enrollment of
student-athletes (57 percent) is significantly higher than the
overall male enrollment (42 percent). Athletics can help maintain an even gender balance on college and university campuses, particularly if institutions sponsor football programs.
College and universities encourage community service
participation by students. The study demonstrates that DII
student-athletes who receive scholarships are more likely to
engage in community service and volunteer activities than
non-athletes. In fact, of all the institutions evaluated, less
than half of non-athletes perform community service, while
nearly 60 percent of student-athletes serve their community.
The ability of athletics to integrate and engage the campus
and community in collaborative projects has proven to build
and strengthen institutional affinity among both internal and
The study also measures the pros and cons of offering a
fewer number of larger athletics scholarships versus a larger
number of smaller athletics scholarships. The results indicate
that DII institutions offering smaller athletics scholarships are
operating at optimal levels in terms of net tuition revenue.
Essentially, the costs of housing student-athletes and the operating budgets for their sports can often be offset by revenue
generated by the increasing number of students that athletics
drives to an institution.
The NCAA was also interested in assessing all of the schools
that student-athletes consider before deciding to attend a DII
school. When evaluating the student-athlete recruits of DII
schools, the study finds that potential student-athletes typically choose among other DII schools offering partial athletics
scholarships, rather than DI, DIII, or National Association of
Intercollegiate Athletics schools. If athletics scholarships were
discontinued, DII schools would be recruiting at a competitive disadvantage. Scholarship opportunities are a key reason
that students choose to compete at the DII level. Furthermore,
student-athletes that leave or choose to go elsewhere if scholarships are reduced or eliminated would be replaced by lesser
recruited student-athletes, which would result in a lower level
of play for most sports, especially the team sports. If DII
wants to continue its high level of play and competitiveness, it
is vital to maintain athletics scholarships.
Overall, the study concludes that DII athletics scholarships,
particularly when offered in smaller amounts to a greater
number of student-athletes, help institutions reach optimal
net tuition revenue. In addition, student-athletes contribute
favorably to the academic profile, gender balance, community
engagement, and cultural and geographic diversity of the
institutions they attend.
Division III Athletics Programs
The NCAA conducted a survey in early 2008 to determine the
opinions of its DIII member institutions about the direction
of DIII athletics. The growth of DIII athletics has been steady
and consistent, with approximately 120 new members since
1990 and an estimated 60 institutions currently seeking membership. Based on the exponential growth, the NCAA realizes
that restructuring may be a necessity in the near future. The
NCAA surveyed current DIII institutions to determine the
best future course of action.
Before delving into the results of the “Division III
Membership Survey,” which was completed by 82 percent
of the 447 member institutions, it is important to note the
Division III Philosophy Statement:
Colleges and universities in Division III place highest
priority on the overall quality of the educational experience
and on the successful completion of all students’ academic programs. They seek to establish and maintain an
environment in which a student-athlete’s athletic activities
are conducted as an integral part of the student-athlete’s
Leaders of DIII institutions contend that athletics programs
help promote diversity on campus and that a healthy balance
has been achieved between academic success and athletics,
which is similar to the philosophy and mission of DII.
Members of Division II believe that a well-conducted
intercollegiate athletics program, based on sound educational principles and practices, is a proper part of the
educational mission of a university or college and that the
educational well-being and academic success of the participating student-athlete is of primary concern.
In fact 99 percent of DIII presidents and athletics directors
agree that the current DIII landscape fulfills the DIII
The majority of DIII athletics directors report to the
SSAOs at their respective institutions, compared to about