At some colleges and universities, water polo is only a club sport; at others it is a competitive, division one sport. In either case, it takes strength and endurance to be one of the best. To be offered a scholarship to play at the collegiate level, you must be one of the best in the nation. Full scholarships are hard to come by, and most who get these scholarships are All Conference and All State champions.
Most of the time in this area, the coach is the one who decides who gets which scholarships are awarded. Some focus on giving partial scholarships to create a well-rounded team, others focus on giving full scholarships to a few players in order to get the best recruits.
The NCAA, is the governing body for all collegiate sports, including water polo. There are other sports programs that are members of the NAIA, but water polo is not one of the represented programs.
The NCAA has hundreds of member institutions that offer both Men’s and Women’s water polo programs at the Division I and smaller Division II levels. There are 21 Division I and 9 Division II water polo teams. Most of the schools that participate in DI water polo are in California. Not surprisingly, these schools dominate the sport. Here are the colleges that are consistently the best in water polo:
Like the men’s teams, the finest women’s water polo players are on the California teams. There are 31 DI and 10 DII Women’s Water Polo programs in the NCAA. Some of the top women’s programs include: