Among the three NCAA divisions, Division I universities generally have the biggest student bodies, manage the largest athletics budgets and offer the most generous number of scholarships. Universities 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.
With nearly 350 colleges and universities in its membership, Division I schools field more than 6,000 athletic teams, providing opportunities for more than 170,000 student-athletes to compete in NCAA sports each year.
Division I college sport has helped the NCAA generate over $1 billion in annual revenue. DI universities spend a very large amount of money on their college organizations in the facilities, coaches, equipment, and other aspects, and as a result many Division I athletic directors and basketball and football coaches have annual multimillion-dollar salaries. The highest paid NCAA basketball coach in 2019 was Duke University's Mike Krzyzewski at $10 million per year and the highest paid football coach the University of Alabama's Nick Saban at $9 million per year.
Big brands such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour have also invested heavily in Division I college sports in order to have their brands associated with the leading student-athletes in the nation. UCLA’s $260 million kit deal with Under Armour highlights the level of investment being made in Division I college sports teams.