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Two Sports in College? Is that Possible?

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“Can you play two sports in college?” is a question many athletes have. The short answer is yes. But depending on the division, playing two sports in college could be one of the toughest challenges of your life, specifically if those sports are at the D1 level. It might be better to figure out which of the two sports you are more passionate about and give that one your full attention. 

Below we’ll go over how many sports you can play in college and what it takes to do well. 

How many sports can you play in college?

here are no rules on how many sports you can play in college. However, playing multiple sports in the same season can be incredibly difficult.  

As any D1 athlete will tell you, it’s not easy juggling classes, practice, and training. Without proper time management, D1 athletes playing only one sport can become fatigued and feel stretched thin. Trying to add another sport into the mix could make your life much harder.  

The NCAA has 24 different sports and 90 championships. If you have your mind set on playing more than one sport, choosing sports with different seasons is best. This allows you to focus on one sport per season, which leads to better game performance and allows for more time to focus on academics outside of games and practice. Playing two sports at the D2 or D3 levels may be easier as they generally require less practice and training.

Do college coaches like athletes who play two sports?

College coaches like athletes who play two sports. It shows that you have several athletic skills and can switch between them quickly. It proves that you stay active and have a passion for sports. You’ll have to rapidly change positions and make play adjustments in college sports and coaches want to know you have the drive to stick it through the long practices year after year. 

Can you get a scholarship for two different sports?

While not impossible, it is highly unusual for a student-athlete to be offered scholarships to play for two different teams.  

As we mentioned before, while the ability to play two sports successfully in high school shows your flexibility and time management skills, playing two sports in college is a different beast. You don’t want to lose sight of maintaining your GPA; which will be just as crucial to keeping your scholarship funds as your athletic performance. Obviously, playing two sports would make this more difficult and receiving two scholarships would mean you have more to lose. 

Pros and Cons of Playing Two Sports in College

Here are the pros and cons of playing two sports in college. 



One pro is cross-training. Our bodies like variety. It’s why we focus on different exercises each day at the gym. Playing on two teams means you’ll train for both and improve your overall physical fitness by strengthening muscles you might not use while playing just one sport and increasing endurance.  

When done properly, you can lower your risk of overuse injuries through the variation. But if you don’t train smartly, you could experience issues related to stress.  

More coachable 

Exposure to two different coaching styles makes you a better listener and better able to adapt your play and practice to the coach. As a player, you want to be in the habit of asking for constructive criticism and be able to learn from the experience of those who are more knowledgeable than you are. Two sports with two different coaches means you’ve doubled your chances to learn and grow. 

Increased chances of being recruited

Keep in mind, you’ll have to play both sports well in order to truly increase your chances. If playing for two teams comes at the expense of excelling in at least one, you might want to reconsider. 

Not having to choose between two passions

Suppose you love two sports equally. You’ve tried to decide on one, but just couldn’t. Playing both sports in college allows you engage in both passions without having to choose. Plus, playing two sports means you’ll get less tired of them.   


Physical risks

Suppose you’re a football player and sprain your ankle during practice. Your coach won’t be happy, but they’ll deal with it. They know that minor injuries are bound to happen in any sport. After some rest, you’ll be in playing shape again.  
Now suppose you play football and run cross country. Your football coach won’t be happy to know you injured your leg during a cross-country meet. Now they’re down a player from an injury that could have been avoided if you only played one sport.    

Also, if you’re playing two D1 sports, you could exhaust your body quickly. By the end of all the practice and training, you’ll have little or no energy for studying. 

Read more: How to Overcome a Sports Injury During the Recruiting Process

Commitment and time

College sports are on a whole other level when compared to high school sports. If you read about what playing at the D1 level is like, you’ll see that practice and training take up much of your day. Your practice and training are so grueling that you only take 2-3 classes per semester. Some even recommend taking more challenging courses during summer so you’ll have more time to devote to them.  

Adding another D1-level sport could mean less time for studying and classes. What if you’re too tired to focus on classes or studying? That could lead to another con.  


You already know college is expensive. Playing two D1-level sports could mean taking longer to complete college and graduate. You could be paying more for college than you need to without a scholarship. These expenses also include the cost of room and board or an apartment if you live off campus.  

Choosing between one or two sports

So, can you play two sports in college? Yes, you can. But should you tackle two sports in college? Your best bet is to weigh the pros and cons. Also, ask yourself a few questions. Are you considering playing two sports because you love both and can’t decide? Or is there one that you like more? What about your skill set? Do you feel you’re better at one sport than the other? Will you have the time and energy to juggle two sports and classes? 

Once you make your decision, NCSA can help you earn college recruitment opportunities. Check out our guide on how to get recruited for college sports and learn more about managing the recruitment process