D3 cannot offer admission?

Is it true that D3 recruiting does not offer admission? Compared to D1 where if they recruit you - you can bypass the whole application process (I hear you just throw one in just because - but there is no lengthy essay/etc). I am hearing that it’s almost reversed. Once you get accepted by the D3 school (on you own academic merit) THEN you would be on the team. Seem like D3 recruiting is pointless…what is your take?

I wouldn’t describe things that way.

D3 coaches can’t promise admission and don’t control admission. But most of the selective D3 (and D1) schools have processes in place that allow coaches to use slots or something similar to boost admission chances for some recruits. Combined with the pre-read process this can raise the odds of admission to 95+% from 5% at some of these schools. But a full application is still submitted and the application is reviewed by admissions not athletics.

There are D1 schools where the athletic department has a dedicated pipeline through admissions but those are usually schools where a decent student would have no trouble being admitted anyway. It’s definitely not the case at Ivies, Stanford, etc.

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Only an Admissions Office can admit kids; that said, a bona fide offer from a coach at a d3 is tantamount to admission. This does vary by school, MIT most notoriously giving less weight to coach support. I don’t know what JHU does; I have heard Chicago gives likely letters.

Why not check out all the other d3 research universities-- Tufts, Emory, NYU, Rochester, Case Western, Carnegie Mellon etc?

Also, spend time reading the old threads in this forum, they had the best info and will answer most of your questions.


Instead of relying on what you are ‘hearing’, investigate the specifics yourself. This will be somewhat school-specific, but the D3 schools we worked with all had some level of coach support. And as mentioned above read the many threads on D3 recruiting.


No coach at any level can offer admission, it always comes from the admissions office. Some coaches have a lot more sway with the admissions office, but it isn’t a guarantee at any school. U of Wisconsin lost a football coach because admissions wouldn’t rubber stamp transfer students from a junior college the coach was associated with.

Admission was not automatic at daughter’s D2 school. The coach recruited two sisters and their names were on all kinds of lists for 2 years. When the older one applied, she was denied for academic reasons (not sure what they were). She went to another school in our conference and so did her sister a year later. The coach really wanted them but admissions said no.

agree. USUALLY it isn’t an issue at non-selective schools, but it can be. I know a coach at our local D2 had to really go rounds to get a top recruit admitted. Eventually he did, but it was an ordeal. This is a school where almost everyone gets admitted, he may have been below NCAA standards too. I think 3.0 GPA may be autoadmit. It’s that level, and still he has to run his guys by admin first.

Sidenote on this kid, he failed out. The coach was annoyed, and a bit humbled I think. I know the next year most of his recruits were on at least a small automatic academic scholarship. He decided babysitting the kids who would struggle to pass the (relatively easy) classes there wasn’t worth the effort.


That is not the right take on d3 schools as many have mentioned. If you have specific d3 schools in mind you could ask about them specifically.

That’s also not the true take on d1 schools that most people on cc ask about. Possibly true of d1 schools that have 80%++ admission rates.

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how a D3 school does recruiting varies widely from school to school and sport to sport. many D3 school coaches will be up front about the number of “spots” admissions gives them to use for their top recruits. these spots will have a pre-read too and after that, the coach can set expectations and advise an ED application. other coaches will be up front that they do not have “spots” to give, but they can weigh in on the admissions process and let the AOs know that they are interested in a given student-athlete. certain coaches will just state that they need you admitted and then you have a team spot.

Literally everything in your post was incorrect except for the question asking for confirmation that D3 recruiting does not offer admission, and I’m not sure I even understand the question.

Some confuse D3 recruiting, as well as D1 or D2 recruiting, with offering an admissions slot vs. recruiting for their team. It can vary greatly depending on the school and league, such as a NESCAC or Ivy (D1) that have league specific recruiting rules.
At some D3 schools, such as some non-selective schools, or even your typical good, but smaller D3 state college, the coach may not need to offer academic slots or may not have slots to offer. Though the coach still actively recruits and promotes the school as they are looking for a certain type of student and the best players/athletes that they can get.
Also, IMO, the general hearsay on recruiting vs. getting a slot/offer, a scholarship, additional financial aid or merit money/scholarship, is often full of half truths.