I wish you much success with you new career path, you are helping so many families trying to navigate this process. We have been warned that we're going to have a crazy year and it's nice to have a place to learn this process. T.M.
Great question and I compliment you and your VolleyPSA for not blindly following the bright lights of NCAA Division I. I hope to get a full answer up with the end of the Holidays, but could only shoot you the Reader's Digest version for now.
1. DI Elite is 11 months a year commitment with about 2.5 weeks of at Christmas and 1.5 weeks off at the end of the Spring Semester. Summer school is mandatory to physically train and play pick up games. The Traditional Season and Non-Traditional (spring) season is very scheduled, with the 20 hour per week maximized (and exceeded) always.
2. DI mid major is rapidly going the path of DI Elite just because so many copy the elite programs as to try to be successful.
3. DI lower is hit or miss. Many of them have a bit more balance, don't go gonzo on physical training, don't go crazy in the off season and don't travel as much for matches.
4. NCAA Division II is a mix of time commitments, per the dictates (craziness) of the coach; but as the season is generally shorter, and the spring season a bit more restricted, the DII athletes have a more traditional or old school definitional of collegiate athletics. I will say that the one year I coached DII was great because travel was minimal, training time was reduced, no crazy film sessions, the season is shorter and I honestly felt me and the players had a much more balanced life (compared to the DI positions I have had).
5. NCAA Division III is focused on academics and the collegiate experience, and athletic participation is just one component of the school's educational philosophy. DIII is the category for the VolleyPSA who wants academics as the focus, but enjoys competitive volleyball.
In a nutshell, in DI, Volleyball will be the main and overwhelming focus of college life, DII can have a great balance, while DIII believes athletics is a component of the collegiate experience.