The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is a voluntary association made up of roughly 1,281 universities and colleges, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. The NCAA is by far the worlds largest collegiate athletic organization, and because of the huge following of college sports in the United States, it is far more well-known than any other national college sports body in other countries.
At this moment in time, there are three-divisions, Division I, Division II, and Division III. NCAA rules permit Division I and Division II schools to award scholarships to athletes, but Division III schools are not permitted to offer any athletic scholarships. Commonly, Division I consists of larger schools and smaller schools compete in II and III.
These schools are usually larger in student population and focus highly of sports. Scholarships are usually bigger, so is the competition. Undergrad programs last 4 years.
Slightly smaller schools that focus on both academics and sports. Scholarships can be very good, the standard of competition is slightly below that of Div I but still very good and highly competitive. Undergrad programs last 4 years.
Smaller schools that prioritize the academic side of things. Athletic scholarships are not offered at these schools, however academic scholarships and grants are very common. The standard in these schools is lower than that of DI and DII, but can still be good in the top schools. Undergrad programs last 4 years
Again, these are smaller schools, however do offer athletic scholarships and other awards. Nationally ranked NAIA programs can and do compete successfully with NCAA schools. Undergrad programs last 4 years.
The NJCAA is composed of two year colleges and is also divided into 3 divisions. NJCAA division 1 colleges may offer athletes a full athletic scholarship, division 2 colleges may only offer partial scholarships that cover tuition, fees and books while division 3 colleges cannot offer any.