Whether you’re a prospective college athlete or just interested in how college sports scholarships work, you may be wondering if Division 2 schools can offer athletic scholarships. The quick answer is yes, Division 2 schools can provide athletic scholarships, but with some key differences compared to Division 1.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Division 2 athletic scholarships. We’ll cover the scholarship limits, the differences between Division 1 and 2 scholarships, the sports that offer D2 scholarships, and tips for earning an athletic scholarship at the Division 2 level.

Division 2 Scholarship Limits and Rules

When it comes to athletic scholarships, Division 2 schools have some specific rules and limitations. Here are a few key factors to consider:

Maximum Number of Scholarships Allowed

Unlike Division 1 schools, Division 2 schools have limits on the number of athletic scholarships they can offer. These limits vary by sport and are determined by the NCAA. For example, in basketball, Division 2 schools are allowed to offer a maximum of 10 scholarships per team.

In football, the limit is 36 scholarships per team. These limits help ensure that Division 2 schools maintain a level playing field and promote fair competition.

Head Count vs. Equivalency Scholarships

Division 2 schools offer two types of athletic scholarships: head count scholarships and equivalency scholarships. Head count scholarships are full scholarships that cover the cost of tuition, fees, room, board, and books.

Each sport has a predetermined number of head count scholarships that they can offer. Equivalency scholarships, on the other hand, can be divided among multiple athletes. For example, if a sport has 10 equivalency scholarships, the coach could divide those scholarships among 20 athletes, providing each with a half scholarship.

This allows Division 2 schools to spread their scholarship funds more evenly among their athletes.

Academic Eligibility Requirements

In addition to athletic ability, Division 2 schools also consider academic eligibility when awarding scholarships. Student-athletes must meet certain academic requirements to be eligible for a scholarship.

These requirements may include maintaining a certain GPA, taking a minimum number of core courses, and achieving a certain score on standardized tests. Division 2 schools place a strong emphasis on the balance between academics and athletics, ensuring that student-athletes are not only successful on the field but also in the classroom.

For more detailed information on Division 2 scholarship limits and rules, you can visit the NCAA’s official website: www.ncaa.org.

How D2 Scholarships Differ from D1

While both Division 1 (D1) and Division 2 (D2) schools offer athletic scholarships, there are some key differences between the two levels. Understanding these differences can help prospective student-athletes make informed decisions about their college choices.

Fewer Full Ride Scholarships

One major difference is that D2 schools generally offer fewer full ride scholarships compared to D1 schools. Full ride scholarships cover tuition, fees, room, board, and other expenses. In D2, partial scholarships are more common, with student-athletes often having to find additional sources of funding to cover the remaining costs.

According to NCAA.org, D2 schools can offer a maximum of 36 full scholarships per team, while D1 schools have no such limit. This means that D2 student-athletes may need to be more proactive in seeking out additional financial aid options to make up the difference.

Smaller Recruiting Budgets

Another difference between D1 and D2 scholarships is the size of the recruiting budgets. D1 schools typically have larger budgets, allowing them to recruit athletes from a wider geographical area. On the other hand, D2 schools often have smaller budgets, which can limit their ability to recruit from outside their region.

This difference can have an impact on the level of exposure and competition that student-athletes experience. While D1 schools may have a wider pool of talent to choose from, D2 schools tend to focus more on local and regional talent, resulting in a more localized competition.

Regional Competition

D2 schools often participate in regional conferences, which means that the competition they face is primarily against other schools in their geographic area. This can lead to more frequent and shorter travel distances for games and competitions.

Unlike D1 schools, which often have national or even international competition, D2 schools tend to have a more localized focus. This can be appealing to student-athletes who prefer to stay closer to home or who want to compete against familiar opponents.

It’s important to note that while D2 scholarships may differ from D1 scholarships, they still provide valuable opportunities for student-athletes to pursue their athletic and academic goals. Each division has its own unique characteristics and advantages, and it’s important for prospective student-athletes to carefully consider their personal preferences and goals when making their college choices.

Which Sports Offer D2 Scholarships

Division 2 schools offer athletic scholarships in a variety of sports, providing opportunities for student-athletes to pursue their athletic and academic goals. While not all sports have D2 scholarships available, there are still many options for athletes to consider.

Men’s Sports with D2 Scholarships

Division 2 schools offer athletic scholarships for a range of men’s sports. Some of the most popular sports include football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and track and field. These sports attract talented athletes from high schools across the country, offering them the chance to continue their athletic careers and receive financial support for their education.

In addition to the more well-known sports, D2 schools also offer scholarships in sports such as golf, tennis, wrestling, swimming, and cross country. These sports may not receive as much attention as football or basketball, but they still provide opportunities for athletes to compete at a high level and receive scholarship support.

According to NCAA, there are approximately 64,000 student-athletes participating in Division 2 men’s sports, with a significant number of them receiving athletic scholarships. This shows the breadth of opportunities available for athletes in various sports.

Women’s Sports Offering Scholarships

Division 2 schools also offer athletic scholarships for women’s sports, providing opportunities for female athletes to pursue their athletic dreams. Some of the sports that offer D2 scholarships for women include basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, and track and field.

In addition to these popular sports, there are scholarships available for women in sports such as golf, tennis, lacrosse, swimming, and cross country. These sports provide a platform for female athletes to showcase their skills and receive financial support for their education.

Did you know? According to NCAA, there are approximately 85,000 female student-athletes participating in Division 2 sports. This highlights the significant number of opportunities available for women to compete at the collegiate level and receive athletic scholarships.

It’s important for student-athletes to research their sport of interest and understand the availability of scholarships at Division 2 schools. While not all sports may offer scholarships, there are still opportunities to compete and receive financial aid.

Aspiring athletes should reach out to coaches, attend recruitment events, and explore scholarship opportunities to make the most of their athletic abilities.

Tips for Earning a D2 Athletic Scholarship

Develop Your Skills Year-Round

One of the key factors in earning a Division 2 athletic scholarship is continuously improving your skills. Athletes who dedicate themselves to their sport year-round have a better chance of catching the attention of college coaches.

This means practicing regularly, participating in club teams or leagues outside of school, and seeking opportunities to compete against top-level competition.

According to a study conducted by the NCAA, Division 2 athletes spend an average of 20 hours per week on their sport during the season. This demonstrates the level of commitment required to excel at this level and increase your chances of securing a scholarship.

Attend Camps and Showcases

Attending camps and showcases can be a great way to showcase your skills to college coaches and increase your chances of earning a Division 2 athletic scholarship. These events provide an opportunity to compete against other talented athletes while also receiving instruction and feedback from college coaches.

Many Division 2 schools host their own camps and showcases, so be sure to check the websites of schools you are interested in to see if they offer such opportunities. Additionally, there are numerous independent camps and showcases that attract college coaches from a variety of programs.

Participating in these events not only allows coaches to see you in action but also gives you a chance to interact with them and showcase your character and work ethic.

Build Relationships With Coaches

Building relationships with college coaches is crucial when it comes to earning a Division 2 athletic scholarship. Coaches want to see that you are not only a talented athlete but also a good fit for their program and school.

This means reaching out to coaches, attending their games or practices if possible, and staying in touch throughout the recruiting process.

It’s important to remember that coaches are not just looking for the best athletes, but also for individuals who will contribute positively to their team’s culture. Showcasing your character, leadership skills, and ability to work well with others can make a big difference in the eyes of a coach.

Websites like NCSA and NCAA provide valuable resources and tips on how to effectively communicate with college coaches.

Have a Strong Academic Record

While athletic ability is important for earning a Division 2 athletic scholarship, it’s also crucial to have a strong academic record. Division 2 schools prioritize student-athletes who excel both on the field and in the classroom.

Having a high GPA, taking challenging courses, and performing well on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT can make you a more attractive candidate for a Division 2 scholarship. In fact, according to the NCAA, the average GPA for Division 2 student-athletes is higher than that of the general student population.

Additionally, being academically prepared can open doors to academic scholarships and other forms of financial aid that can supplement your athletic scholarship.

By following these tips and putting in the necessary effort, you can increase your chances of earning a Division 2 athletic scholarship. Remember, it’s not just about your athletic abilities, but also about your dedication, character, and academic performance.


In conclusion, Division 2 athletic programs can offer scholarships to student-athletes, but within defined limits per sport. While D2 scholarships are partial scholarships compared to some full scholarships offered in Division 1, there are still great opportunities to earn athletic aid and compete at a high level.

With smart preparation, skills development, and outreach to coaches, many student-athletes can realize their goal of competing in college sports with the assistance of an athletic scholarship. We hope this guide provided the details you need to better understand D2 scholarships and how to earn one.

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