Want to play sports in college? Here’s what you need to know.
Ways to play sports in college
There are lots of ways to play sports in college. Colleges may have varsity athletics, club teams who compete against other colleges, intramurals and/or physical education classes.
Varsity athletics at college
Community colleges in Oregon with athletics are governed by:
- Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) or
- National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)
All 4-year U.S. colleges and universities with competitive sports teams belong to one of two athletic associations:
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
- National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
Advice for future student-athletes
Show your interest.
If you are interested in playing varsity athletics at a 4-year college you should register with one or both associations, as early as sophomore year in high school.
Interested in playing at a particular college? Fill out an interest survey on each college’s athletics website.
Keep your grades up.
In addition to any requirements for college admission, there are also minimum eligibility requirements to play varsity athletics. Make sure you are on track with your high school and college classes.
Don't plan on an athletic scholarship.
Not all colleges give athletic scholarships. For example, colleges who are part of the NCAA are separated into three divisions; only Division I and Division II schools may offer students scholarships for athletic abilities. Only a small percentage of high school athletes will play at the varsity level at a Division I school.
Make a career plan.
Even if you do play varsity athletics at college, very few will continue on to a professional athletics career. Therefore, make sure to use your college experience to study and plan for a future career beyond athletics.
For more information, see Collegewise's Guide to Athletic Recruiting.