Division I sports are often perceived as having many more benefits than Division III programs. Common notions are that Division I schools offer better experiences for athletes and fans, however, from an athletic view D-III schools have just as many benefits as D-I programsâ€”if not more.
It is true that D-I schools can offer some things that D-III schools cannot, such as athletic scholarships, larger fan bases and larger facilities.
â€œD-I is portrayed as very spirited and high energyâ€”they have a huge football stadium and a lot of people outside the school follow them, sometimes even nationallyâ€”but here we have less of that,â€ said Erica Hochstein, sophomore track runner. â€œItâ€™s pretty much that you have to know this school or be a part of this school to support them and know what is going on.â€
However, these benefits of D-1 may not outweigh the pros that D-III programs offer students and fans.
As members of the D-III Trinity athletic community, student athletes have the opportunity to be involved in more than just their sports, and athletics. One of the main perks of being a D-III athlete is the ability to have a college experience that isnâ€™t limited to athletics.
â€œWe get the freedom of having a life. You get to play a sport but also be involved in other organizations and, for me, you get a summer and I was able to do a harder major, which I donâ€™t think I would have been able to do at a D-I school,â€ said Abby Seamster, a sophomore volleyball player.
Hochstein also enjoys the ability to participate in multiple activities.
â€œI have a lot of other opportunities I can get involved with other than just the sport I play,â€ Hochstein said. â€œI also sing in choir, Iâ€™m in a fraternity and I can do those things as well as complete my academics on top of doing the sport, which is really beneficial because I donâ€™t think I choose just one.â€
From the perspective of nonathletes, the fact that D-III schools have student-athletes is also a benefit.
â€œAs a Division III school, in part because we do not offer athletic scholarships, student-athletes are here as students first,â€ said McKenzie Quinn, senior RM and tour guide. â€œI really appreciate being at a D-III school where athletes really care about the academics. We kind of get the best of both worlds at Trinity because…we do have really great athletic events.â€
D-III environments are also better for the supporters. With a D-III community, it is easier for the athletes and nonathletes to connect on a day-to-day level without the separation between the two that many DI schools have.
â€œPeople actually know each other who are on the teams, and you can support each other in a more personal way that may have better or more positive effects on the people who are playing,â€ Hochstein said.
D-III schools donâ€™t only offer a good experience for players, but also for fans, as Trinity supporters point out.
â€œAs a fan itâ€™s fun because you know the people that are playing since its smaller, and that is really great,â€ said Erika Edrington, sophomore volleyball player.
D-III schools allow athletes to expand their experiences and give them the option to be very involved in campus.
Supporters also gain many benefits , from free game tickets to the unity of athletes and nonathletes. While D-III sports may not receive the attention that D-I programs garner, schools like Trinity offer as many perksâ€”at a smaller and more personal level.