Scholarships are often available for college athletes that play on Division One and Division Two NCAA athletic teams. However, athletes who play on Division Three teams are often not eligible to receive athletic scholarships to play sports in college. Smaller schools typically have such athletic programs, and athletes on these teams simply play the sports for the love of the game. Nevertheless, Division Three athletes get financial benefits from participating in sports in college in a variety of ways.

An an undergraduate, I was on my college indoor and outdoor track and field teams for three years. Some of my fondest memories of college were with my teammates, and I am so happy that I was able to play varsity sports in college. The experience also showed me how Division Three athletes get financial benefits in certain circumstances.


One of the main ways how Division Three athletes get financial benefits is that schools can admit students to a school to play on a given athletic team even if they do not meet the average standards of admission. Indeed, my participation on my college’s track team may have influenced my school’s decision to admit me to my alma mater. Some schools offer certain financial benefits to all students, whether they were admitted to play sports or through the ordinary admissions process.

For instance, many schools have need-based financial aid programs and Division Three athletes get financial benefits from such programs. Some schools view providing financial assistance to needy students as part of their philanthropic mission. As a result, they subsidize the cost of tuition for students who come from families who cannot pay for the full cost of attending college.

As mentioned in a few prior articles, I received generous need-based financial assistance as an undergraduate. This helped ensure that I graduated from college with a very modest amount of student debt. However, I may not have been admitted to my college had I not participated in varsity athletics. Accordingly, I may not have been able to avail myself of a generous need-based financial aid program if I did not participate in colleges athletics. As such, college athletes may use their skills to secure easier admission to universities that have generous financial aid programs, and this can have a substantial impact on the amount of student debt an individual needs to borrow in order to earn a college degree.


Another way Division Three athletes get financial aid benefits is during the graduate admission process. Participating in college sports looks great on graduate school applications because this shows that an applicant can balance academic pursuits with athletic endeavors. Indeed, my participation on my college’s track team came up in a few of my law school interviews and may have helped me when I applied to law school programs.

As mentioned in prior articles, some graduate schools, including numerous law schools, have need-based financial aid programs. And participating in college sports may make it easier to be admitted to top graduate programs that provide need-based financial aid to students. Accordingly, Division Three athletes get financial benefits at the graduate level because athletic participation can help students secure financial aid in graduate school.

Division Three athletes may also get direct financial payments from their participation in college sports. Although they cannot be paid a salary or scholarship for being on a college sports team, they can sometimes receive free meals when competing. In addition, Division Three athletes often receive meal money when they are away from their school for competitions.

When I was a Division Three athlete, I routinely received $20 each time I went on a track meet off campus. I would usually bring a sandwich to the meets and pocket the meal money that was provided to me. Over longer championship meets I was provided up to $75 for meals, and I would try to spend as little money as possible. This might not sound like much cash, but the meal money gave me valuable spending cash that was definitely needed while I was a cash-scrapped college student.


Some of the other benefits provided to Division Three athletes means that these students may be able to save money in other ways. As a Division Three athlete, I received numerous t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other clothes at no expense. I wore that attire around campus constantly, and I still have some of that clothes. This meant that I had to spend less money buying clothes myself. In addition, Division Three athletes at my school got laundry service for our athletic clothes and free locker room space that would have cost money if we wanted to pay for such services on our own. Also, we all received help from athletic trainers, including medical support for which other people on campus would have to pay. Furthermore, Division Three athletes often were allowed to return to campus earlier for breaks and stay on campus for the entirety of some vacations, and other students at our college would have had to pay out-of-pocket if they wanted the same benefits.

All told, Division Three athletes get financial benefits in the form of educational assistance and direct payments for meals and other costs that they may have while competing. In addition, Division Three athletes receive a number of perks for which other students would have to pay and can minimize the amount of money they spend on a number of items.

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