Packed stands during a University at Buffalo football game.

Bigger Spirit


In the classroom and on the playing field, we are the talent magnet.  If you can imagine it, you can compete in it at SUNY.  We offer athletic opportunities at all levels of competition, ranging from intramurals and club sports to nationally-ranked NCAA, NJCAA, NAIA or USCAA sports teams. Statewide, SUNY has more than 85 NCAA Division I, 290 NCAA Division III, and 385 NJCAA athletic teams, as well as hundreds of non-competitive athletics clubs.


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NCAA Division I schools generally have the biggest student bodies, manage the largest athletics budgets and offer the most generous number of scholarships. Schools who are members of Division I commit to maintaining a high academic standard for student-athletes in addition to a wide range of opportunities for athletics participation.
More than 170,000 student-athletes at 444 institutions make up Division III, the largest NCAA division both in number of participants and number of schools. The Division III experience offers participation in a competitive athletic environment that pushes student-athletes to excel on the field and build upon their potential by tackling new challenges across campus.
The USCAA is a national organization for the intercollegiate athletic programs of 86 mostly small colleges, community colleges and junior colleges, across the United States, stretching from Washington state to Maine. The USCAA holds 12 National Championship tournaments in 7 sports.
The NJCAA is an association of community college and junior college athletic departments throughout the United States. It is divided into divisions and regions. The current NJCAA holds 24 separate regions.
The NAIA is an athletic association that organizes college and university-level athletic programs. Membership in the NAIA consists of smaller colleges and universities across the United States.
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Division I

Division I schools, representing the highest level of collegiate competition, sponsor at least six sports each for men and women, and at least two team sports each for men and women. Division I teams usually play against Division I opponents. Division I schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for athletics, and maximum financial aid awards for each sport. (The University Centers participate in NCAA Division I. A few Community Colleges offer sports in NJCAA Division I.)

Division II

Division II schools sponsor at least four sports each for men and women and at least two team sports for men and women. Teams play against Division II and sometimes Division I opponents. Traditional rivalries with regional institutions dominate many Division II programs. Division II teams usually feature a number of local or in-state student athletes. Many pay for school through a combination of scholarships, grants, student loans, and employment earnings. There are maximum financial aid awards for each sport. Division II programs are financed in the school's budget like other departments. (A few Community Colleges offer sports in NJCAA Division II.)

Division III

Division III schools sponsor at least five sports each for men and women and at least two team sports each for men and women. Division III athletics features student-athletes who receive no financial aid because of their athletic ability. It encourages participation in any of numerous athletics opportunities, emphasizing regional in-season and conference competition. Athletic departments are staffed and funded like any other department in the university. (University Colleges and several Technology Colleges participate in NCAA Division III athletics. A few of the Technology Colleges and Community Colleges offer NJCAA Division III programs.)


Most schools feature organized sporting events between groups on campus - football games between two fraternities or friendly competitions between residence halls would be examples. In intramurals, players come from within the same institution.

In addition to organized intramural sports, many campuses sponsor clubs - student organizations formed by and for students to promote and develop interest and skill in a particular sport.