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Want To Be A Division-I Athlete? Here Are Three Sports With The Most Opportunities

ByScotty Jenkins

3 min read

Want To Be A Division-I Athlete? Here Are Three Sports With The Most Opportunities

It’s not as easy as some people think to move from high school sports to the D1 level of college sports.  On average, a high school athlete has roughly a 2-percent chance of playing their sport at the Division-I level.

The NCAA's report on what percentage of high school athlete's earn a spot on a team at the Division-I level. (Via NCAA.org)

Opportunities to play Division 1 also differ depending on which sport you play.  The following list outlines the sports with the greatest opportunity to play at the Division 1 level.

Here is the percentage of female athlete's that transition into one of the top three sports at the Division-I level. (Via NCAA.org.)

#1) Men's & Women's Basketball

Mens basketball players have a 2-percent chance of playing D1 and women follow closely behind with 1.3-percent chance of moving from high school to the D1 level.  While chances seem meager, basketball bodes the most D1 schools available for players to continue their careers with opportunities at 351 D1 schools.

Don’t expect the journey from high school basketball to D1 Universities to be easy, because it isn’t.  The competition is fierce and the top caliber programs have high expectations for their student athletes.


#2) Men's And Women's Cross Country

Cross Country comes in at #2 for the largest number of Division 1 college programs for men and women. The only downside for cross country athletes is that they split scholarships with track and field athletes, making it far less likely to score a full ride for either sport .

Men’s Cross Country has 319 competing teams that could be a destination for hopeful Division-I athletes. The Women's sport has 349 Division-I teams competing each year.


#3) Baseball Or Field Hockey

America’s favorite pastime ranks third in opportunities for athletes to play at the D1 level, rounding out to 299 D1 schools.  Not to mention, the College World Series has 64 teams competing in the first round of play.  

Competing at the D1 level in baseball or field hockey is no easy feat and the job gets harder once you are accepted to a D1 program.  Most players consider it a full time job on top of their college academics, but these programs offer state of the art facilities and access to exceptional coaches.

Softball falls just behind Baseball with the most Division 1 college programs.


Are you in the top percentile of high school athletes?

Soccer, Golf, and Track and Field are the next sports with the most schools with D1 teams.  Soccer is one of the only sports where women have more D1 schools available to them than men.  

Regardless of your sport, it’s important to do your research and due diligence in navigating the recruiting process.  It’s no longer a world where if you’re good enough, the coaches ‘find you’.

Most athletes that don’t go on to play D1, D2, or D3 college sports most likely chose not to.  Those who research and navigate the recruiting process have a greater opportunity to continue playing in college.

Do your research, make a list of potential schools you’re interested in, reach out to coaches, share your stats and create videos showcasing your talent.  

There’s no better time to take the future of your athletics or your career outside of sports into your own hands.

Are you an Athlete?

Create a free profile to access the largest network specifically designed to connect athletes to opportunities. Get started.

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