What is the difference between D1, D2, and D3? How do I know which one is right for me?(Coach Jimmy Lamour helping to settle the score)

Posted by Guest Columnist on November 7, 2016 at 11:05 am under High School | 4 Comments to Read

What is the difference between D1, D2, and D3? How do I know which one is right for me?
from Coach Jimmy Lamour(Certified Youth Fitness specialist) with Lamour with Lamour Training Systems

It happens every year as athletes are deciding on where they will continue playing collegiately. Many are not clear on the differences between the different levels of play. Many athletes believe that if they do not attend a Division 1 college they will not be able to play collegiately. This is not true. The biggest differences I have noticed between these levels are monetary, exposure levels, staffing, and size of players. The division 1 level will allow you to play on television more regularly, have much more school provided gear, have several position coaches, and you will see some large individuals. Although, many times the size differences are more evident on the Offensive and Defensive lines. Of Course, the best benefit is that most of the team has all their educational expenses taken care of. These benefits also will cause you a great deal. Your life will revolve around the sport that you play. Oftentimes, your schedule can start at 5:30 a.m. and not end until 10 p.m. This may include meetings, practices, film sessions, eating, classes, and study hall. Everyone is not built for this type of commitment and you must be honest with yourself to decide if that is what you want.

2016-11-07 players

The Division 2 schools will have a much smaller enrollment and not offer full scholarships unless you are the top players on the team. This is why it helps to be academically sound as you may be able to get extra money due to your academic performance. These schools will very rarely play on television unless you reach the playoffs. There will also be a great commitment away from class. However, in most cases the demand will not be as much as the division 1 schools. There are also some very good players on this level that have played professionally.

The Division 3 Schools will have very low enrollment and are often private schools. This means that these schools will cost much more, since they do not get any public funding. Many times these schools are very academically challenging as sports are not a high priority. The athletes are much smaller depending on the school. The strength coaches are usually one of the position coaches due to the lack of funding for the sports. There are a very low number of athletes that play professionally on this level as many wanted to continue to enjoy the game without as much demand from the sport. However, make no mistake that there are quality players on this level and it will not be easy.

How do you decide which one to attend? You have to be realistic about where you are getting the most opportunity. You may think that you are a division 1 player, but if you do not have any offers it is time to strategize. It is time to start analyzing who has offered you and which coaches have been keeping in contact with you. I would not wait on a big division 1 school if I already have offers at lower level division 1 schools. I would go where I am celebrated and not tolerated. Also, look at your academic standing and see which schools would give you the most money. I would never discourage players to not follow their dreams and walk on somewhere if they think that is their best option. However, I would not go into severe student loan debt, know I am not 100% committed, and give up a fulfilling D2 or D3 career due to my pride. If you have any more questions you would like answered please feel free to send us a note.

Jimmy Lamour is a former Guilford College in Greensboro, NC All South Defensive Back. He set the record for interception return yards at the school. Upon Graduation, he tested numerous philosophies on strength and speed through seminars, self-study, conversation with renowned strength coaches, and training of hundreds of athletes. This led him to develop the 4.30 40 Speed System a system that helped him improve his 40 yard dash from a 4.66 to a 4.30, which gave way to many professional football workouts. He later developed Lamour Training Systems with the help of his lovely wife Charlene to help athletes improve their performance and receive knowledge he missed out on as a child. He continues to consult with several division 1, prep schools, and high school coaches. LTS has helped many football athletes play at the D1, D2, and D3 levels. He believes that his passion to see young men become all God intended them to be and provide knowledge of the defensive back position which will allow young athletes under the tutelage of Pick 6 Academy to flourish. He is currently certified as a Youth Fitness specialist, 7on7 Performance Director, and High School Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Also, Coach Lamour is a devout Christian and enjoys being a part of Harvest Church. He has two children Camdon (19) and Micah (12).Sign up for his newsletter to receive his free speed report at http://fastyouthathlete.blogspot.com/ on For more information, call 336-257-9151


  • ron said,

    Good article. To add to the article…normally the level you are recruited at is the level in which you can play. There are exceptions.

  • Jimmy Lamour said,

    Ron, yes I agree on average. I also have seen behind the scenes how relationship can help with athletes being recruited. For instance, in sending a solid athlete to a particular school several coaches contact me to have me give my input on certain players. I am big on creating pipelines as coaches believe they know which type of athlete they are getting by the relationship history.

  • Tom said,

    I have said this many times in years past, don’t always assume Division 3 is going to be expensive. If you are a good student and are in need of financial aid, see what these schools can provide. I was lucky enough to get my entire education paid for and was able to play basketball. Keep your options and your mind open. Also be sure to pick a school that meets your current skill level. You will be happier in the long run.

  • Jimmy Lamour said,

    Good point Tom.