As most of you know, here at Dickinson College I am a member of the Red Devil football team. Dickinson College athletics are Division 3, which differs quite drastically from Division 1 athletics in the Big Ten Conference. Today I sit down with one of my teammates Anthony Survilla, a rising senior tight end, to discuss some of these differences and give you an idea of what Division 3 football is like.
Jack: So let’s start from the beginning, when do you typically report to football camp to begin the season, and how is that different than Division 1 programs?
Anthony: We typically report to camp around the middle of August. This year we happened to report on August 15th, with our first official practice starting on the 16th. As for Division 1 programs, most teams report about two weeks earlier, at the end of July or beginning of August.
Jack: What is your daily schedule like during camp?
Anthony: We’ll wake up around 6:30 am, then report to the Kline Center pool for our morning swim. It’s not really a swim though, more like a morning run in the pool. From there we go to the cafeteria for breakfast. Then at about 8:30 AM we have meetings with our individual position coaches to install plays or watch film from the day before. At around 9:30 AM we take the field for practice which usually lasts about two hours. After practice we’ll eat lunch at the caf, then we have about 2 hours of free time. Around 3:00 PM we either have a walk-through or our second practice of the day. If we have a walk-through, it’s typically followed by a light lift to maintain strength. Then we have dinner, followed by team meetings that typically run until 9:00 PM. After our meetings we are done for the day, typically going to bed around 10:00 PM.
Jack: Do you think it’s much different for a D1 program?
Anthony: I don’t think it would differ much because if you look at our daily schedule, we don’t have much down time at all. Maybe only two hours a day. So I don’t think that D1 programs would be able to fit anything more into a day during their camp.
Jack: Now getting into the regular season, what would you say is the biggest difference between a typical day for a D3 player versus a D1 player?
Anthony: I would imagine the biggest difference between the two players would be the amount of time they spend on academics versus the amount of time they spend on football. For me I spend about 3-4 hours on football, including practice, film sessions, and meetings. Then the rest of my day is focused on academics, whether it’s going to class, doing homework, or studying. As for a D1 football player, I’m not exactly sure how much of their day is spent focusing on football but I would guess it’s anywhere from 6-8 hours, with the rest of their day spent on academics.
Jack: So are you suggesting that these D1 players have an easer academic course load than D3 players?
Anthony: Not necessarily. I know there are D1 football programs at top academic schools like Northwestern and Stanford where the players take tough academic courses at a prestigious university. I’m sure they too spend a great amount of their day focusing on academics as well as football. But I do know that many D1 programs aid their athletes with tutors to help them with their academics. Unfortunately, some programs are taking advantage of these tutors and having them do the work for the athlete instead of assisting or guiding the athlete in completing the assignments. Although this isn’t as common in football, it is prevalent with college basketball, specifically the University of North Carolina scandal.
Jack: Well, I don’t want to keep you much longer, but as you know this blog is focused on Big Ten football, so I have to ask you, what’s your favorite Big Ten team?
Anthony: Penn State. Since I can remember watching college football with my dad as a young kid, I have always been a Penn State fan. Raised in northeastern Pennsylvania, I really didn’t have any other option. Witnessing a whiteout game at Beaver Stadium is an unreal experience. 108,000 fans dressed in nothing but white going wild the entire game, it’s an atmosphere unlike any other.
Jack: Alright Anthony, I appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me and answer a few questions.
Anthony: It’s been a pleasure.
There are some big differences between Division 1 and Division 3 football, like size and athleticism. There are even slight differences between our daily schedules. But at the end of the day, we are both student-athletes who are focused on continuing our education while playing the game we love.
(I added the video below just to show you a little bit of Anthony’s ability on the field, turn down your volume though because it pretty loud. Anthony’s hit is the first clip.)