The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, is the largest college athletics organization in the country. There are three levels of competition in NCAA college basketball, with Division 1 being the highest, then Division 2 and Division 3. Division 1 and Division 2 schools are both able to offer athletic scholarships in basketball.
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According to D2Basketball.com, there are 282 NCAA Division 2 schools that play college basketball. These schools are spread out in 22 different conferences across the United States. Typically, Division 2 Schools are smaller than Division 1 schools in terms of enrollment. Division 2 schools have smaller budgets, usually are closer to their competitors and travel by bus, while Division 1 schools are often spread out and usually travel by plane.
NCAA Division 2 schools each offer 10 full scholarships in men's basketball. That is three fewer than Division 1 schools offer. Schools cannot split up or offer partial scholarships in men's basketball, so anyone who is on a scholarship counts against the limit of 10. Division 2 schools usually make up the extra players by having walk-ons, or players who are not on scholarship but are on the basketball team.
The academic requirements for eligibility in Division 2 in some cases are far less stringent than the Division 1 standards. According to the NCAA website, freshmen must have at least a 2.0 grade point average in high school, score at least an 820 on the SAT or at least a 68 on the ACT. In addition, the NCAA website notes that to be eligible as a freshman, you must also complete 14 core courses in high school. The biggest difference in Division 2 eligibility comes with athletes who transfer from junior colleges. Division 1 transfers who were not qualifiers out of high school are required to graduate from junior colleges to be eligible, but Division 2 athletes do not have that requirement as long as the athlete earned at least a 2.0 GPA and earned an average of 12 hours per term at the junior college.
In some cases, Division 2 schools will have basketball players who are not quite good enough to play at the Division 1 level. However, many Division 2 schools are better than the smallest Division 1 programs because they are allowed to take junior college players who would have been good enough to help Division 1 teams but could not qualify. Division 2 college basketball is very competitive, and many players go on to play professionally from the Division 2 level.