What makes Division I different?


Each week, ESPN.com surveys the student-athletes on our panel to see how they feel about a topic that directly affects collegiate life.

What makes Division I athletics different from the lower divisions?

Murphy Murphy

"I think a big difference is the ability and encouragement to be a two- or three-sport athlete at Division II and III schools versus competing at a Division I school. A friend from home was encouraged at her D3 school to continue to pursue multiple sports in order to keep up the training schedule for the next season. At D1 schools I feel playing multiple sports is more difficult, as you miss offseason training when you are in another sport's main season. While focusing on a single sport enhances sport-specific skills, I think playing multiple sports also has tremendous advantages. It cultivates athleticism and improves your performance overall; being a multisport athlete is a thing I think many athletes miss when they transition to college competition in a single sport."
-- Meghan Murphy, Notre Dame women's lacrosse

Tidwell Tidwell

"As far as football goes, I think the upper-tier Division I-AA teams are comparable to many of the 'mid-major' teams in Division I-A. I speak from experience, as I have played one each season and every game has been very competitive. However, I don't think that the upper-tier I-AA teams are too comparable to the Oklahomas and Floridas out there."
-- Tyler Tidwell, Navy football

Henley Henley

"The main difference between the divisions in college sports is the talent level. The most obvious and biggest contributing factor is the disparity in the number of scholarships between the divisions. This disparity takes nothing away from the level of competition; each division is highly competitive and entertaining."
-- Tyler Henley, Rice baseball

Vetter Vetter

"As you move up in divisions the pace of the game gets faster. It isn't that much faster, but it is enough to notice."

-- Jessie Vetter, Wisconsin women's hockey

Wileman Wileman

"I think with soccer it is difficult to determine the difference. Division I schools obviously have better facilities and things like that, but as to the level of play, I don't think there is that much difference. The great thing about soccer is that anyone can win on any given day. So I don't feel like there is that great of a difference."
-- Chase Wileman, SMU men's soccer

Anosike Anosike

"Between the different divisions I think the difference is physical. Though participating in sports anywhere is time consuming, those who play at the highest level must be strong and fast for a longer period of time than other levels because the competition is so good."
-- Nicky Anosike, Tennessee women's basketball