Did you know there are over 490,000 student-athletes in the NCAA, across all three divisions?! Do you know the difference between head sports and equivalency sports? Or the difference between the NCAA and NAIA?

There is plenty of confusion out there about playing sports in college. Lucky for you, Elevate Athletics is here to help! Read on to test your knowledge…

True or False? Baseball players are the most likely to go pro, compared to any other college sport? True! A staggering 9.1% of NCAA baseball players go on to play in the MLB, compared to only 2% for all sports. Good news, if you’re a baseball player!

What is the difference between the NCAA and NAIA? The NCAA is larger and by default has more money to award. Just like the NCAA, the NAIA has limits on how many scholarships are awarded to student-athletes in each sport. As you might assume, the NCAA has a larger number of scholarships, per sport, compared to the NAIA. Broadly speaking, the NCAA awards approximately $3 billion annually to Division I and II student-athletes. NCAA Division III does not award “athletic” scholarships, but provide academic grants or need based scholarships. The NAIA provides about $600 million in athletic based scholarships per year- still a respectable amount…IMO.

What is a “head count” versus “equivalency” sport? In head count sports the NCAA limits the total number of individuals that can receive athletic scholarships, but allows each player up to a full scholarship. These sports typically generate revenue for the school, and at the Division I level, includes: Men: football and basketball, for women: Basketball, tennis, volleyball and gymnastics. For equivalency sports the NCAA limits the total financial aid that an institution can offer in a given sport to the equivalent of a set number of full scholarships. Roster limitations may or may not apply; it depends on the sport.

True or False? The NCAA has higher academic standards, compared to NAIA? That is TRUE. The NCAA requires a 2.3 GPA, whereas the NAIA only requires a 2.0. Other requirements for each organization…


  1. Complete 16 core courses
  2. Have a core course GPA of at least 2.3
  3. Earn the ACT/SAT score matching your core course GPA on the Division I sliding scale
  4. Graduate high school

NAIA, in addition to graduating high school, you must meet two of the following three:

  1. Minimum GPA of 2.0
  2. Graduate in the top half of your graduating class
  3. Minimum test score requirements
    1. Composite score of 18 on ACT*
    2. 907 on the SAT (Evidence based Reading, Writing and Math)**

ACT tests taken March 1, 2016 through April 30, 2019 require a composite score of 16.

** SAT tests taken March 1, 2016 through April 30, 2019 require a score of 860.

Happy Tuesday, my friends!