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Schools that compete in Division III athletics are traditionally those with the least competitive teams. These schools do not offer athletic scholarships and generally treat athletics as an extracurricular activity for students. With 449 schools within the designation, Division III is the largest of the NCAA divisions. Some schools generally operate at a Division III level but may compete at a higher level for certain sports–for example, Johns Hopkins is a Division III school for all sports except lacrosse, for which it competes at the Division I level.

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