Division III softball is really good! Seriously, really good.
If more softball players and parents knew this simple fact, everyone would be happier. I understand why many players think the other divisions are superior but the reality is a simple one. Not all Division I programs are better than Division II and not all Division II programs are superior to Division III.
Now I get it, people want to get a softball scholarship and DIII doesn’t offer athletic scholarships so we assume that they are second-class citizens. Well nothing could be further from the truth.
Kids pick Division III schools for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, DIII kids are by far the most successful academically. Part of that academic success can be tied directly to the DIII model where the term Student Athlete is really just that, student first. This emphasis on academics creates an opportunity for players to pursue whatever degree they choose and to excel in the classroom.
Academic excellence doesn’t mean that the DIII player isn’t still working hard on softball. They are. They still go to the weight room, they still have early-morning conditioning, they still spend many hours on the field and in the batting cages. They are still very serious athletes but they prioritize things a little differently.
Coaches at the DIII level still want to win, so softball is still a very competitive thing, just not with the same level of expectation and stress that exists at the DI or DII level. DIII coaches are not household names who make huge salaries. They are often teaching some of the classes that their players might be taking so they have a whole different level of understanding. They are also less likely to be a topic on ESPN because they lost a couple games which means they can stress the importance of academics, and mean it!
So when someone tells you they are interested in a Division III softball program you should be just as impressed as if they were talking about a top-10 DI program. These kids are great softball players and they are around of the fact that they are DIII players. You should be proud too!