Levels of College Basketball Explained

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is the most talked-about collegiate athletic system. Two other systems exist- NJCAA and NAIA, but most people are not familiar with them. Here, the main focus is on the NCAA.

NCAA Divisions

There are three major divisions I, 2, and 3, which are determined by the budget and size of a college’s athletic department. Division I and 2 may provide athletic scholarships. The top division 1 comprises of 3 unofficial competition levels: low-major, mid-major, and high-major. Schools that fall under the high-major level are also in the Big 6 conferences that boast the biggest athletic budgets and football programs. The Big 6 conferences include ACC, SEC, Big East, Big 10, Pac 12, and Big 12. For every game in such conferences, 10,000 spectators are usually in attendance, and the event must be broadcast on national TVs.

Mid-major is a category with very good collegiate basketball. However, the schools have a slightly lower budget and less exposure to the TV than the high-major level. They participate in mid-major conferences like the WCC, Mountain West, and the Horizon League.

Lastly, the low-major Division 1 conferences have the lowest budget and play in small sports grounds with a capacity of 3,000 people. Examples of low-major conferences are MAAC, SWAC, and Big Sky.

Every basketballer in a US university wants to be Division 1 player, but getting a scholarship to one of the best basketball schools is quite a hurdle. Division 2 schools are also a popular option for basketball players, and the top quarter schools of this Division are at the same level as the low-major Division 1 schools. But they hold their games in small arenas and hardly do TV games.

Division 3 is an academic alternative to all other conferences, and the schools involved do not offer full scholarships- maybe partial academic scholarships. Division 3 players can pursue their academic goals in colleges while experiencing college basketball.