What is Division II?


Southern New Hampshire University is a proud member of NCAA Division II, and has been since joining the NCAA in the late 1970s.  Division II is comprised of approximately 300 colleges and universities throughout the United States, from small private institutions such as SNHU to large state universities.

SNHU competes in the Northeast-10 Conference.  With 16 members, it is the largest Division II conference in the country.  The NE-10, regarded as one of the premier Division II conferences, sponsors 22 championships.

The Penmen have competed in NCAA Division II championships in men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, ice hockey (defunct), softball, golf and women's tennis.

Topics: About Division II

Why Do Student-Athletes Choose Division II?

Many Division II student-athletes had opportunities to play in NCAA Division I or Division III or the NAIA. But they chose Division II, and for almost all of them, the choice is a good one. A “balance” exists that emphasizes both academic excellence and athletics achievement, and an environment is created that leads to the student-athlete’s total personal development.

Almost none of the 80,000 student-athletes competing in Division II this year will receive a full athletics grant that covers all of their expenses, but most of them will receive some financial aid to help them through school. For the rest of their expenses, they’re on their own – using scholarships, student loans and employment earnings just like most other students attending college. This healthy partnership is the essence of Division II, where student-athletes are valued for their athletics contribution and for being an important part of the overall student body.

Division II student-athletes play at a competitive level, and they most often play close to home. Division II emphasizes regional competition so that student-athletes miss less class time because of travel. Division II student-athletes receive value-based educations at regional institutions that often feature high teacher-to-student ratios.

Why Do Schools Choose To Be Division II?

Division II’s conservative fiscal model permits its members to conduct high-level athletics that are fully integrated into the overall institution. Rather than being financially self-sustaining, almost all Division II programs receive support from the institution itself – just like other departments of the college or university.

Division II’s regionalization philosophy encourages responsible spending by limiting travel. It also creates a local emphasis that lowers recruiting expenses.

Does it work?

The average expense for a Division II program is only 36 percent of that for a typical Division I-AA program. The largest reported athletics budget in Division II is only about 10 percent higher than the average athletics budget in Division I-AA.

Do fans support Division II?

Division II football set an attendance record in 2005 with 2,989,274 fans. In fact, Division II total football attendance has increased each year since 2002, the only NCAA division or subdivision that can make such a claim. Division II men’s basketball also set an all-time attendance record in 2004.

Division II Links and Resources

NCAA Division II Network

Division II Community Engagement

Division II Game Environment

2009 Division II Membership Report