To continue our section dedicated to the conferences we are going to present the remaining two divisions of the NCAA, that are Division II and Division III. The first is an intermediate level division of the NCAA between the most important and financed DI and DIII which does not offer scholarships for athletic merit.
Division 2 is divided into 23 Conferences extending from east to west and grouping 315 medium-large universities. In alphabetical order, the conferences of the NCAA DII are: California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), Conference Carolinas (CVAC), East Coast Conference (ECC), Great American Conference (GAC), Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC), Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC), Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), Gulf South Conference (GSC), Lone Star Conference (LSC), Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), Mountain East Conference (MEC), Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10), Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), Pacific West Conference (PacWest), Peach Belt Conference (PBC), Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC), South Atlantic Conference (SAC), Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and Sunshine State Conference (SSC).
The second division sponsors exactly the same sports as the first, which are 25 between men and women. Generally, DII athletes are just as physically gifted and talented as those competing in DI sports, but schools are unable to fund sports programs as well as the first division. In fact, instead of receiving scholarships based solely on athletic merit, DII student-athletes receive a combination of sports and academic, as well as financial aid based on family income that integrated together can become a full scholarship. The only exception is for men's volleyball in which the level is not much different between the first and second division and even the scholarships are practically the same.
To testify this balance between sport and school, we would like to mention some Sportlinx360 student-athletes who have found in NCAA DII an opportunity to grow and improve at 360 degrees. An example are the athletes who played in Serie B in Italy such as Giada Pais Marden who now is at Auburn University at Montgomery. Giada also boasts a second place in the italian national finals with Bassano Volley in 2017 which saw two other athletes, Tatijana Fucka and Beatrice Formilan. Another player who competed in the NCAA DII is Federico Pagliara, coming from the Italian Serie B as well. Federico attended Barton College with which he won a conference title and the MVP award in 2017. Francisco Salinger as well, player that was part of the youth national team in Argentina, is having a fantastic experience in DII for Limestone University. To confirm the excellence of this division from an academic point of view as well, we mention Elena Ciulli, an excellent athlete, but also a great student who attends the renowed Florida Institute of Technology with excellent grades.
Division III is actually the largest division of the NCAA with about 450 institutions members, of which 80% private and 20% public. Although this division does not offer athletic scholarships, it believes that practicing sports in college is a privilege that schould be still recognized, which is why it offers its student-athletes the opportunity to continue practicing their sport, motivated by simple passion and love for the game and not only for financial rewards. This great division is broken into 44 conferences that stretch across America and are: Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, American Rivers Conference, American Southwest Conference, Atlantic Southwest Conference, Capital Athletic Conference, Centennial Conference, City University of New York Athletic Conference, College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, Colonial States Athletic Conference, Commonwealth Coast Conference, Empire 8 Conference, Great Northeast Athletic Conference, Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Landmark Conference, Liberty League, Little East Conference, Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Middle Atlantic Conferences, Midwest Conference, Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, New England Collegiate Conference, New England Small College Athletic Conference, New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference, New Jersey Athletic Conference, North Atlantic Conference, North Coast Athletic Conference, North Eastern Athletic Conference, Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, Northwest Conference, Ohio Athletic Conference, Old Dominion Athletic Conference, Presidents’ Athletic Conference, St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Skyline Conference, Southern Athletic Association, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, State University of New York Athletic Conference, University Athletic Association, Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, USA South Athletic Conference and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
A big portion of the universities that belong to this division are elite colleges with academic excellence and even if they don't offer athletic scholarships, sometimes they offer very competitive scholarships for academic and/or financial merit. In this division we can find some of the most important universities in the world such as California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University, Washington University etc.
As for volleyball, Division III boasts more than 100 teams for men and almost 450 for women, very high numbers compared to the other two divisions of the NCAA, especially for men which between DI and DII does not exceed 50 teams. However, these numbers are constantly increasing, confirming men's volleyball as one of the sports considered "emerging" on the national scene (and which will be the subject of a future article).