Benefits of a Division II school
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For most high school athletes, their sports career is over once they have graduated from high school, but for the more athletically talented, they get the chance to play in college. Some will go on to play for Division I (DI) schools, while most will end up playing at a Division II (DII) or Division III (DIII) college. UIS is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II school.
One thing that separates a DII school from a DIII school is that at a DII school, you are awarded an athletic scholarship to play unlike DIII schools, which cannot give out athletic scholarships.
For most incoming student athletes who play at a DII school, the athletic scholarship plays a huge factor in deciding which college to attend. The scholarship that a DII school provides makes it that much more appealing to most student athletes.
Athletic Director Kim Pate commented about scholarship saying, “it offers the opportunity to recruit talent yet provides a more sustainable and affordable fiscal model for college athletics.”
Another reason why most student athletes choose a DII school over a DIII is the level of competition. At a DII school, the level of competition is much higher than DIII, which makes playing at schools like UIS more interesting.
According to senior Basketball player Kyle Gupton, playing at a DII school isn’t much different than playing at a DI school. “For the most part, talent is about the same and depending on the school you go to, the atmosphere could be the same. There are some Division I schools that have less tenants of the game than a Division II or vice versa. It relies on the success of the school.”
Gupton also said one thing athletes can’t get at a DIII school is the exposure that only a DII school can bring. “This league has a lot of talent and a lot of former national champion teams. So every night it’s anybody’s game. There is not a sorry team in this conference. Everybody in this league is a pretty good team and helps prepare players to play at the next level and forces them to compete at a higher level.”
Some would also say the experience that you get at a DII school can’t be matched. “The DII experience is the ideal student-athlete experience,” commented Pate. “The DII philosophy provides a great balance between a high level of competition while also providing a strong emphasis on the academic experience. The DII experience provides more of a comprehensive learning environment focusing on developing the whole student-athlete. DII students gain life skills that we believe prepare them for success beyond college.”
Another benefit that a DII school offers is the community engagement. “Our student-athletes have the opportunity to build relationships with groups and individuals in the community not only through service but with the intimate game environment where fans and often families come out for a family-friendly experience,” Pate said. “At UIS, fans get the opportunity to know student athletes on a more individual and personal basis; a great example of this is UIS’ tennis team,” she added.
With all of these benefits, it is not hard to see why playing at a Division II school is so beneficial. For this upcoming academic year, look forward to seeing improvement across all sports.
“I think the fall sports will generate some enthusiasm as we head into the rest of the year,” Pate said. “I also think our students will continue to see improvements to our student promotions as we better collaborate with Blue Crew, SAC, and other entities across campus. We will continue to enhance the game day and in-game promotions to further enhance and create a college game day experience. We will continue to incorporate more student-focused promotions, appealing give-a-ways, food, etc.”