Essentially, scholarships, allowable practice time, and recruiting rules.
D1: Women can have 8 scholarships, Men can have 4. This does not mean every school has this many. In fact, very few schools do! Consider scholarships something you can earn while attending the school, not something that’s offered right away.
Recruiting: Every school has an NCAA compliance office. Every coach will tell you how they are allowed to recruit you based on the compliance office’s understanding of the various NCAA rules pertaining to recruiting. D3 schools can contact athletes earlier…they have more relaxed rules, but they can’t pay for flights to campus for visits, and they can only practice with a coach on deck during the season.
Sound confusing? Well, it is!! The book on recruiting rules is about 200 pages long and is constantly changing. Listen to the coach and ask questions about what is legal! Most coaches want you to play in college, and most coaches are professional, however it is up to you to make sure you aren’t in violation of any rules. Just as it is up to you to get to the program of your dreams at a price that’s reasonable to your family, doing so legally is also up to you.
Service Academies: Everyone is on scholarship! In fact, everyone on campus not only attends school for free, but everyone earns a monthly wage for service to your country. This is a truly special calling should you chose to attend a service academy. Water polo will be a small percentage of your day at these schools, and most graduate the academies with a commitment to serve in the armed forces for a period of time.
Please ask questions below!