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When many high school athletes think college football, their thinking is limited to the schools with the most notoriety.
In reality, there is so much more opportunity than one might often thinks.
There are multiple divisions of college football. They differ in budget, level of play, and in their recruiting process, among other things.
Division 1 - FBS
85 Scholarships per team20k - 110k Stadium Attendance1 in 100 Recruiting Selectivity130 Teams
D1 - FBS
D1 - FCS
Division 1 - Football Bowl Subdivision
OverviewWhile there is a large variability in the top FBS team and the bottom FBS team, these teams are the best of the best.
Every scholarship awarded to an athlete is a "Full Athletic Scholarship"
Participating in the division 1 means the athlete will have an extremely rigorous time schedule. Between practice, film study, weight training, conditioning, rehab and unofficial activities, the athlete can expect to commit 40+ hours per week to football alone.
Post-SeasonAt the end of the regular season, there are a number of "bowl games". Each bowl committee has specific criteria on teams they will select to play each other in their bowl game. At the end of "bowl season", there is a 4-team playoff to name a single National Champion.
RecruitingFBS schools have the largest recruiting budgets and the biggest schools recruit nationwide in search for the cream of the crop.
These schools purchase scouting data from services that are FREE to the athlete to support their recruiting efforts. They are extremely selective in their recruiting efforts and heavily base their recruiting boards on height, weight, speed and skill level.
Coaches at FBS programs receive messages from athletes all over the country who desire to play at their school. Emails and messages from athletes to coaches are most often left unreplied.
OverviewDivision 2 schools still have strong talent but have much less depth to that talent than Division 1 programs.
Division 2 schools have less scholarships to offer around and also divvy them up in the form of "partials".
The time demands at a Division 2 program are a little better geared toward the athlete who is looking for a better academic, athletic, and social balance.
It is not entirely uncommon for Division 2 programs to defeat FCS programs when they play.
It is also a great option for a talented athlete to play at, show out, and then explore their transfer options to a higher division.
Post-SeasonAt the end of the regular season, there is a 28-team playoff bracket to name a single National Champion.
RecruitingDivision 2 recruiting budgets are smaller and more limiting than their division 1 counterparts, but there is a lot of variability in the range between top and bottom D2 schools.
Many of these schools still purchase scouting data from services that are FREE to the athlete to support their recruiting efforts. They are less selective in their recruiting efforts and are not so much as worried about size and speed as they are about skill.
The schools that do not purchase scouting data may use the databases of recruiting services that charge athletes to be a part of. However, these same schools will also be much more receptive to an athlete that reaches out to them via email or social media.
NAIA - National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
OverviewNAIA offers athletes a unique opportunity to compete in college athletics other than in the NCAA. The competition level is most closely related to the NCAA Division 2 level.
NAIA has its own academic eligibility requirements, different from the NCAA's eligibility requirements.
NAIA programs can offer full scholarships but are also able to divvy them up into partials.
NAIA programs have the goal of "maximizing the return on athletics (ROAs). This means they intend on competing at as high of a level as possible while spending much less money as their NCAA equivalent. This is reflected by smaller staff sizes and all around budget.
NAIA student-athletes often enjoy a very healthy academic, social, and athletic balance of life.
Post-SeasonAt the end of the regular season, the top NAIA programs participate in a 16-team playoff to name a single National Champion.
RecruitingNAIA programs do not have to adhere to NCAA recruiting regulations like the other divisions. As a result, NAIA programs can recruit at will, communicating with athletes and offering scholarships as late in the recruiting process as they want.
Because of their ROA mentality, most NAIA programs do not purchase the scouting data like the big time programs do. Due to this, they are more open to the databases of recruiting services that charge athletes to be in.
However, these programs are very receptive to personal outreach efforts from athletes via social media and email.
We see people throwing the college coach timeline all the time, the recruiting timeline....even we present it on a different page.
In reality, understanding the coach's timeline will not effect your yearly routine.
With football, as in life, looking inward and owning one's own situation is the most prosperous way to move forward.
Here is the timeline that will make all the difference in your world.
This will help you guide your plans, wherever you are in your career.
And if you want some assistance, we are here to help.