What is the difference between Club teams and Varsity sports?
Varsity sports are those in which players are involved in representing their schools in competition with other colleges/universities at the highest levels. There are three major NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) varsity sports divisions - Division I being the highest level, with a breakdown for football into Division I-A and Division I-AA; Division II; and Division III. Division I and Division II sports programs typically offer scholarships in various amounts, while Division III programs usually do not.
Depending on the institution, recruiting for specific varsity sports may be very intensive. Some schools do accept "walk-ons" for certain varsity sports, however. A student interested in playing a varsity sport should contact the coaches of the relevant sport to determine what procedures are in place at each institution to which he is considering applying.
Students who participate in varsity sports, especially those receiving scholarships, will be under a certain amount of pressure to commit the necessary effort to sports training while maintaining satisfactory grade averages.
Club teams are those which, in principle, any student can join based on his/her athletic abilities/interests. Weekly practices are usually held, sometimes more than once per week, and competitions are arranged with other institutions, but because the student's involvement is recreational in nature, there is less pressure with regard to meeting training and academic demands. It is up to the student to establish the proper balance between his/her sports commitment and his/her academic life.
Involvement in various college/university activities can provide the social connections which students need in order to feel at home and integrated into the college experience. For many students, club sports will provide this niche.