Division III schools 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 that values cultural diversity and gender equity among their student-athletes and athletics staff.
Division III offers:
- Opportunities to become well-rounded individuals who successfully integrate athletics and academics. Student-athletes are integrated into the student body, and they experience the full range of college life.
- Athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic skills and athletic departments that are staffed and funded like any other department in the university.
- Places special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators. The student-athlete's experience is of paramount concern.
- Encourages the development of sportsmanship and positive social attitudes. Coaches and players treat each other with respect and administrators work to foster a positive competitive environment.
- Commitment to providing equitable athletics opportunities for both genders and giving equal emphasis to men's and women's sports.
- Encourages participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities available to student-athletes, placing primary emphasis on regional in-season and conference competition.
How is Division III governed?
Division III has two governing groups:
Presidents Council: This 15-member policy-setting group is made up of CEOs from member colleges and universities.
Management Council: Consists of 19 CEOs, athletics administrators, faculty representatives and student-athletes and is overseen by the Presidents Council.
Below these two bodies is a committee structure that focuses on issues relating specifically to Division III.
Legislation in Division III is considered and approved through a traditional one-school, one-vote process at an annual convention. In this way, Division III institutions make their own rules, independent of the other two divisions.
From the NCAA Division III website
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 athletics activities are conducted as an integral part of the student-athlete's educational experience. They also seek to establish and maintain an environment that values cultural diversity and gender equity among their student-athletes and athletics staff.
To achieve this end, Division III institutions:
- Place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators and place greater emphasis on the internal constituency (students, alumni, institutional personnel) than on the general public and its entertainment needs;
- Award no athletically related financial aid to any student;
- Encourage the development of sportsmanship and positive societal attitudes in all constituents, including student-athletes, coaches, administrative personnel and spectators;
- Encourage participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities for their students;
- Assure that the actions of coaches and administrators exhibit fairness, openness and honesty in their relationships with student-athletes;
- Assure that athletics participants are not treated differently from other members of the student body;
- Assure that athletics programs support the institution's educational mission by financing, staffing and controlling the programs through the same general procedures as other departments of the institution;
- Assure that athletics recruitment complies with established institutional policies and procedures applicable to the admissions process; (Adopted: 1/12/04 effective 8/1/04)
- Provide equitable athletics opportunities for males and females and give equal emphasis to men's and women's sports;
- Support ethnic and gender diversity for all constituents; (Adopted: 1/12/99)
- Give primary emphasis to regional in-season competition and conference championships; and
- Support student-athletes in their efforts to reach high levels of athletics performance, which may include opportunities for participation in national championships, by providing all teams with adequate facilities, competent coaching and appropriate competitive opportunities.
The purpose of the NCAA is to assist its members in developing the basis for consistent, equitable competition while minimizing infringement on the freedom of individual institutions to determine their own special objectives and programs. The above statement articulates principles that represent a commitment to Division III membership and shall serve as a guide for the preparation of legislation by the division and for planning and implementation of programs by institutions and conferences.
From the NCAA Division III website