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Congratulations Rdeangel... You're in an exciting spot with the prospect of playing college baseball ahead of you. More knowledgable posters than I will give you some specifics on this hopefully, but I think it really comes down to A) YOUR specific baseball AND college goals; and B) the fit of each specific college that you're looking at. For a lot of players, the chance to play D1 baseball will carry a lot of weight... It's the overriding goal. No question that D3 baseball is less demanding of a student's time. It's also less competitive baseball... Not BAD baseball mind you... but certainly less competitive overall than D1 in strictly baseball terms.
Some of the best advise that is repeated here frequently is to ask yourself "what college would I most want to attend if baseball had nothing to do with the decision?" I think that's a great initial question to ask yourself in considering the schools that are reaching out to you currently. From there, you can prioritize the opportunities... weighing in what they offer you academically and also how important baseball is in the scheme of things. Best of luck!!
I don't think that its about D1 vs D3 or some other level. All coaches want to win and to win you need players to work at it. I would expect that the expectation level at a D1 is higher but I know JC coaches that expect their kids to put in as much work as D1 schools.
If you want to play you need to know that it is a huge time commitment. My son is at a NAIA school and his typical schedule is wake up at 5:30am, workout from 6-7, class from 7:30 - noon, each lunch, hangout, on the field by 1:30, practice starts at 2, practice until 5, eat dinner, then study, hangout. Finally go to bed and get up tomorrow and do it again.
Its a grind but one my son wants to do more than anything and that is the key. You have to want it, if you don't then don't waste your time.
Just as an example, my son is now at a D2 university (transferred from a JuCo) and he has practice or conditioning every day. His only day off from baseball is Wednesday. Otherwise he has classes between 8 am and 2 pm followed by practice or conditioning. Some days they have conditioning early before class.
When he was at the junior college, his day off was Monday, with classes nearly everyday til about 2 pm, then practice from 3-6 pm. During the season it gets tougher with doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday with a game or two during the week.
As SG said, Congrats on the opportunity to play college baseball. If you are hoping to be involved in other campus activities/organizations besides baseball, whether that be student government, a fraternity, performing in school musical or theatre productions, etc., you're probably a better fit for D3.
Most Division I athletes, baseball or any other sport, don't have much extra time to be involved in those activities. I'm not saying it can't be done, but you should discuss those desires with a Division I coach before you commit to that team in order to see what his comments are on your goals and desires.
First for your specific questions:
At a high level a D1 programs play 56 games plus any playoff games, at the D3 level it is 40 plus playoff games. D1 travel is more demanding usually a Fri/Sat/Sunday game with a mid week game thrown in. D3, they try to compress it into two days if a facility has lights with one day a double header. Top programs are also playing a mid week game For Northern Eastern D3 programs their 40 game schedule gets crammed into two months sometimes and some teams are playing 5 games a week, but they don't play much in Feb, For specifics you really need to look at the programs who are recruiting you.
Over all the travel will be much easier in a D3 program, due to fewer games.
Top D3 programs will eventually get to the 50 something game number if they are consistently in their conference tournament as well as Regionals and CWS games.
My son plays for a top D3 and they usually end up with around 50 games played, since they pretty much always go to Regionals.
Practice and Fall
I am not sure of the exact differences between coaches contact hours for D1 vs D3 to get the exact technical number you can look it up at the NCAA in their coaching manual, I believe it is 20 hours per week for D1, but the reality is that teams have "captain" practices so you will be practicing more than 40 hours a week. For top D3 programs probably a little less then this, but not much. In a D3 program it is not unusual to miss part of, or sometimes a whole practice due to a class conflict. Some D1 programs allow this, but not many, again very program dependent.
Playing for a winning program vs a loosing program. My son did not realize this when he made his decision, but some of the D1 programs who were recruiting him were not in the top half of their league, conversely the program he plays for wins most of their games. They are always in their conference tournament and Regionals so they play a lot of important close games. Playing for a lower level winning program vs a higher level mediocre one is something to think about.
Very dependent on the schools you are considering, Academic money is usually for 4 years, athletic is usually year to year, and is typically performance dependent.
As Soylent said, it is important to select a school that fits your profile and interest, independent of baseball first and then figure in the baseball equation. The difficulty and time demands of your major will also play a part of your decision.
Good luck it is a good problem to have.
The day to day schedule will be very similar. The D1 schedule is longer. Chances are the bus trips are longer. If there's a game and a test the academic D3 player will be at the test. The D1 player better get it rescheduled (a generalization, not always true). An issue with D3s is they are typically much smaller schools. A needed class may only be available in the afternoon.