College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies.
Although the college game has a much larger margin for talent than its pro counterpart, the sheer number of fans following major colleges provides a financial equalizer for the game, with Division I programs – the highest level – playing in huge stadiums, six of which have seating capacity exceeding 100,000.
College athletes, unlike players in the NFL, are not permitted by the NCAA to be paid salaries. Colleges are only allowed to provide non-monetary compensation such as athletic scholarships that provide for tuition, housing, and books.
College teams mostly play other similarly sized schools through the NCAA's divisional system. Division I generally consists of the major collegiate athletic powers with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities, and more athletic scholarships. Division II primarily consists of smaller public and private institutions that offer fewer scholarships than those in Division I. Division III institutions also field teams, but do not offer any scholarships.
A football scholarship can cover many, sometimes all, of the costs associated with earning a university degree. In return, the student-athlete will represent the university in their respective sport and maintain a good level of academic performance.
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