Truman State University competes in Div. II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Most of their events take place in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC). There is a big difference between Div. I and Div. II as far as rules, eligibility and scholarships are concerned.
Both Div. I and II are governed by the NCAA. Over 1,200 schools across the country are members of the NCAA. Within the NCAA are multiple levels of competition known as divisions,, according to the NCAA’s website.
Div. I is the most competitive level of play in the NCAA. These schools have the highest budgets and the most athletic scholarships. There must be seven sports for men and seven sports for women at each Div. I school. Football and basketball rules differ slightly since these sports are often the largest money makers for their schools.
Div. I football is divided further into the Football Bowl Series (FBS) and the Football Championship Series (FCS). The FBS is the higher level of play of the two where teams compete in a number of bowl games at the end of the season. The FCS mainly consists of basketball schools whose teams play in a playoff format at the end of the season.
Div. II is where Truman athletic teams compete. About 300 schools are a part of Div. II. The main difference between Div. I and II is the number of athletic scholarships offered. Div. II schools offer fewer scholarships and full scholarships are less common with most athletes receiving partial scholarships. Div. II schools must offer five sports for men and five for women, according to the NCAA website.
Many schools in Div. II compete in money games where a Div. II school goes to a Div. I school to play and gets paid by the host school. Many times this ends in a lopsided game that serves as a warm-up for the larger school and a money-making opportunity for the smaller school. Div. II schools must play at least half their games against other Div. II opponents as a result of this.
Men’s basketball coach Jeff Horner was previously an assistant at the University of North Dakota, a Div. I program.
“It’s definitely a different level of competition and a different level of athletes,” Horner said. “We have some guys who are just on the edge of being Div. I though. There are other differences like rules about how much we can practice in the off-season.”
Truman competes in the GLVC, which is home to 16 teams in five states. It holds competitions in 12 men’s sports and 12 women’s sports. The schools in the GLVC from Missouri include Drury University, Lindenwood University, Maryville University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri-St. Louis Rockhurst University, Southwest Baptist University and William Jewell College. Truman has been a member since 2013.
Finally, Div. III is the lowest level of competition. There are no athletic scholarships offered in Div. III. Play in Div. III is focused more on playing for the value of competition than making money or attracting fans.